Love for One Another
The elder to the elect lady and her children … I ask you, dearly lady – not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another. – 2 John 1:1, 5 (ESV)
The brief epistle of 2 John begins with salutations from an elder to “the elect lady and her children.” With the past Election Day still on our minds and some ballots still being counted, we might think of the many women newly elected to state and federal offices. But the “elect lady” in the text is not really a “lady” but a community – and her children are members of that community. The metaphor also applies to any election candidates and office holders.
What’s more important than the specific identity of the “elect lady” is her/his/their function. The elect and the children are admonished to love one another. Obedience to this age-old commandment is the indeed the validation and the mandate of one’s election.
Given the bitter wrangling of this past election cycle, love for one another is still our most pressing need.
That love places our common concerns above all partisan rivalries.
Love for one another places those who are concerned about porous borders at the same table with those who are concerned about global warming … and moves them to respond to each other in respectful ways.
Love for one another means that those who’ve been adversely affected by economic globalization and those who’ve been adversely affected by unregulated capitalism have to hear and heed each other’s concerns.
Love for one another causes those who worry about the national debt to find common solutions with those who worry about college debt.
Love for one another is still the most pressing mandate of anyone elected.
God, let love for all your children be the validation of this and every election. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.