Today is the sixth Sunday of Easter, which means there is only one more remaining in the season. Each week of Easter this year we have heard a reading from the first letter of John and we will finish the letter next week. While we don’t know for sure, 1st John is thought to be authored by the same person as wrote the Gospel of John. Most probably it was written later in John’s life, perhaps when he was in exile in Patmos. There are many similarities in word choice and themes between this letter and John’s gospel. Jesus Christ is the Word; Jesus Christ is the only son of God; Jesus Christ has come in flesh to the world to be its Savior.
In this letter, John develops the connection between Christian belief and moral conduct. God is love, we heard last week, and the Christian who is a child of God, loves his neighbor as well. Christian life requires both faith in Jesus and love of brothers and sisters.
Because of its repetition, sometimes the letter can be a bit confusing and seem to be written in circles. It can be difficult to sort out the meaning, taken sentence by sentence. I suggest we think of this letter in its entirety. Its structure is somewhat like a finely woven Asian carpet or a symphony played by a full orchestra. A theme is introduced in one section or one part and then the same theme reappears in another section or part. Layered together, part upon part, one hears or sees the entire, rich, idea.