Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Picture the scene: you are at the end of your tether. Theological differences, difficult interpersonal relationships, and myriad other issues are tearing your church community apart: some dear friends have started to follow what you believe to be false teaching; others’ hearts have become so hardened they refuse to talk to anyone who disagrees with them. You feel caught in the middle, at your wits’ end, and unsure of where to turn.
A letter arrives to the community. As you hear these first few lines read aloud to this group, so fractured and confused, how do you feel?
I can imagine that for the first recipients of Jude’s letter, these words brought immeasurable comfort. Although the words are few, they somehow manage to remind the group of who they are, who God is, and their purpose in the world.
They are ‘loved in God the Father’. Despite all the division and controversy that surrounded them and was within their community, this is the ultimate reality. This is the truth in which they must re-anchor their lives.
They are ‘kept for Jesus Christ’. Not only are they secure and loved today, but they are kept for the future when Jesus returns. God has not, and will not, let them go, no matter what is going on in their life or the lives of those around them.
There is no denial of the difficulties that they are facing, but instead there is a reminder of something greater – despite all the challenges, God has the power to preserve and keep them from now into eternity… not through power or wealth or fame, but through his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
And finally, a blessing: ‘mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.’ When you are at your wits’ end, when you feel as if you have nothing left to give, it is likely these things that you really need: mercy, peace, and love. Compassion, quiet confidence, and assurance of your place and value in God’s kingdom.
I do not know where you find yourself this week. At the beginning of August, perhaps you are feeling frayed, at your wits’ end, ready to pack it in. Read these words, and know that their truth echoes down the generations. Read Jude’s blessing, and know these things, too, are yours today.
Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance – this week, and always.