By: Dan Steinfield, Head of School
Our school Theme Verse for 2021-22, James 3:17, reminds us that wisdom from above results in the character qualities of meekness, righteousness, and peace. But how, in a culture that is divided and facing multiple challenges, does the DC community demonstrate these qualities? Today, one does not need to look hard to see division and factions; they play out daily in the news, in our neighborhoods, and even in our families and churches.
The book of I John provides a wonderful roadmap for believers to navigate our culture today. John's focus is positive, not strongly critical or controversial. His aim is redemptive, not reactionary. His charge is simple: grow in faith, in obedience, and in love. The letter is not a list of do's and don'ts. It is a manifesto of done! - echoing Jesus' words "it is finished!" (John 19:30). God's action of sending Christ the Son, the Light of the world in John 1:1, becomes the mandate for those who believe in the Son.
We focus on what we are for and on opportunities to demonstrate the incarnational love God first demonstrates to us. This is to be our focus, instead of tribalism or what we are against which can often take a judgmental and divisive tone, often isolating us. Simply put, the book of I John calls us to “Steadfast Confession and Unashamed Compassion.”
I John Chapter 1 tells us that God is light (vs. 5) and if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (vs. 9). Our Biblical worldview reminds us this ‘moment’ is just a moment, it is not the whole story. Christianity is not dealing with one thing after another; it is orchestrated, moving from a beginning to a new beginning, with God’s word to help us navigate the journey. I John instructs us of four truths that transcends all ‘moments’:
- He is Risen - John and others testify to the life of Christ and the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.
- Christ is Lord of ALL
- Christ will make all things new
- God has placed you in this moment (calling)
This is our Steadfast Confession.
In Chapter 4, I John turns to a discussion of Unashamed Compassion; letting the love of Christ flow through us to others. This Unashamed Compassion is fueled by our scriptural understanding that God is love (4:7, 8), God who indwells the Christian is the very essence of love. Love is inherent in all God is and does; even His judgement and wrath are perfectly harmonized with His love. Unashamed Compassion is fueled by our desire to follow the supreme example of God's sacrificial love in sending His Son for us (4:9-11). God's love is not an abstract principle or sentiment, but made manifest by sending His Son into the world so that sinful man might be restored to right relationship with Him. Unashamed Compassion is fueled by the heart of Christian witness (4:12), and the demonstration of God's love in this age is the church. The Apostle Paul puts it this way: "We are Christ’s ambassadors; God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor 5:18-20).
This is the call to Unashamed Compassion.
As the DC community is steadfast in our confession and unashamed in our compassion, our community will result in life marked by happiness, holiness, and assurance. The Gospel is the incarnation - God’s absolute truth clothed in human form to build relationships, to cross divides and cultural boundaries, to be relevant and connect truth to culture.
“The Word became flesh and made its dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”. [John 1:14]