Summary: The certain hope we find in Christ -- forgiveness and salvation -- are real reasons for joy.
Glue is a bonding agent. Some is more adhesive than others. You wouldn’t use Elmer’s Glue to bond a piece of paneling to a wall, just as you wouldn’t allow a small child to use Liquid Nails to make an art project.
There are many types of glue on the market these days, each with it’s own strength and designed for specific uses. Today, we’ll talk about glue that isn’t marketed. It isn’t available in a bottle or squeeze tube, but its more powerful than anything you can buy. It’s the glue that holds us together as a church. It’s the bond of joy that holds us to Christ and each other. St. John tells us that the “glue” is dry. YOUR JOY IS COMPLETE! 1) In Fellowship and 2) In Forgiveness.
1) In Fellowship
Different generations have their own haircuts and style of dress. And so do sports fans.
Americans fly the flag as a symbol of patriotism. Bonding, community, fellowship, glue! The book of 1 John is about this – except that John’s message is that Christians have glue that is more powerful – which transcends ethnic limits, culture, and personality. A unique glue holds us together. St. John writes: “ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
The word that John uses here for fellowship is an ancient Greek word for a common bond or partnership. If two men went into business together they had fellowship of sorts. It meant to have something in common. And John is saying: I want to tell you about true fellowship – true bonding -- a bonding that not only draws us together as partners but also links us up with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ! This is powerful glue!
As a matter of fact, says John, this bond is so powerful and so important that our joy depends on it. “We write these things so that our joy may be complete”, he says. My happiness, at least to a some degree, is dependent on your bond with God and with your fellow Christians. There is nothing that’s going to make my day better than knowing that we’re united in the fellowship of faith in Christ.
Why is this type of fellowship so important? What makes this bonding so unique and powerful? The answer that John gives us is summed up in one word: JESUS. There is nothing more essential to our faith than Jesus. We believe that it is through Jesus alone that we are reconciled to God. Through his life, death, and resurrection we enter into a bond, a fellowship, with God. We get reacquainted with God and his love for us. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that John is pointing to Jesus as the source of our common bond – the glue that holds us together.
We have a unique bond with God. John explains it: We saw. We touched. He’s not talking about some ghost or some dogmatic abstraction or philosophy of life! He actually saw and touched Jesus. St. John is stressing the mystery that Jesus is really human. And it is this genuine humanity that allows us to bond with him. Just as United State army wears olive green to express its own oneness, belonging, and community, so we wear a common flesh with God through his presence with us in the flesh of Jesus.
Who of us would deny that Jesus came in the flesh and was a real man with real human bones and real human fingers and toes? Yet, that’s as far as our human minds will go with it. “He’s nothing more than a man!” And we live in a world influenced by such rational thinking. There are many Christian churches that teach Jesus was just a man. He was a good man, a great teacher, but just a man; flesh and blood and nothing more. Without faith, our own minds would conjure such ideas.
I’m sure you’re beginning to see the implications for our bonding or fellowship here. If Jesus isn’t really human then we can’t really have solid fellowship with him. We can’t really know him! And we can’t really identify with him and really enter into a close relationship with him. The glue is weak.