In our Cathedral in Reno Nevada tomorrow we will read a passage from I John. John is the Gospel writer who scholars credit as being one of the most obfuscatory of writers. The first reading for tomorrow, at first reading is an example of this:
God is light, and in him, there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”
Just what does all of this mean? What does St. John mean when he says “light?” What does St. John mean when he says “darkness?” What does St. John mean when he says, “If we walk in the light as he is in the light…?” What is sin anyway?”
This last sentence in I John is a parallel construction. “If we walk in the light as he is in the light,” continues with a definition of what that light is. “We have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” “Chet,” the Hebrew word for “sin” means “Failure,” and has a secondary meaning of “miscarriage.” Chet does not have to be intentional, except that if we plan well, we improve our chances of success.
The light, expressed in practical terms means walking with one another, walking with imperfect people when we are imperfect people, failing from time to time. We have different experiences, and we see things differently. Living in the light means living as children of God, as one nation under God. We are imperfect people looking to the Father of light and love, trying to live the perfect life. Abba is Father, HaBa is the one who is to come, and Ahabba is Love, in Hebrew.
We celebrate the Eucharist. As it says in Psalm 104:14-15, God in the Eucharist, “plants for people’s work to bring forth food from the earth, wine to gladden their hearts… and bread to sustain the human heart.” In the Eucharist, we receive that wine in the blood of Christ and the body of Christ in the bread. We become joyful to go forth to live out the paradox of living the perfect life as imperfect people.
The Eucharist is the time we fill ourselves with the Physical Presence, and therefore joy. Confession and during the Mass readings are the times when we sit down with God and do that planning to minimize our failures. Let us fill ourselves with the wine that gladdens our hearts and the bread, so we can have fellowship with our neighbor, the homeless waiting to pick our pockets outside of our Cathedral, the criminal sitting in our jails, and the working poor, wondering why we do not more to make their lives better.