1 John 2. 18-20
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
A Word of Hope
National Good Neighbor Day
Today’s reading was a very popular scripture in a church I regularly attended 45 years ago. Any Bible verse that made mention of the scary and world-ravaging Anti-Christ was an assured high attendance catalyst for any of the Prophesy Conferences that were continually held there. It also meant high bookstore sales of the ‘Left Behind’ series or the ‘Late Great Planet Earth’, because it was the last hour and we were cautiously advised to be spending the last minute of it cramming for that ultimate final exam: The Last Judgment.
Curiously, no mention was ever made of the facts that the urgency in the letter of 1 John’s last hour was 2,000 years ago, not next Tuesday, and that he was referring to the antichrist not as a slimy, but winsome young actor who was determined to rule the world, but as anyone who turned away from the teachings of Jesus.
Looking back, I recall that the world did not end 2.000 years ago, or 45 years ago either, and the planet Earth still has a plentiful supply of antichrists, regularly turning away from the precise and loving teachings of Jesus. I count myself among them from time to time whenever I am too stubborn or too lazy to take a little time to love my neighbor. Jesus’ Great Commandment on that subject can’t be repeated enough, because we seem to be consistently deaf to it. -Want to be certain you are not the AntiChrist? Then, love God with all your being and live that love by loving your neighbor as yourself.
Today is National Good Neighbor Day, one of those obscure mini-holidays of which few people are aware and almost no one ever observes. Whoever created the special day was not concerned with threats about the end of the world or being holier than all the backsliders in their lives, but they did come up with a pledge. It is worth repeating, too:
The “Good Neighbor” Pledge
I pledge to be the “good neighbor.” With the goal of becoming a more connected and caring community, I will be a person who lives with kindness and concern for my neighbor.
I’ll take the first step by connecting with neighbors and introduce myself. I will practice the “good neighbor mindset” to make connections, invitations, stay aware, and be available to my neighbors. Good neighbors make great neighborhoods.
Thank you that we do not have to be frightened into service to you and your eternal initiative of loving those around us as you have always loved us. Thank you for the plain-spoken and comforting message of Jesus. May I never forget that the whole world is my neighbor.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare