John 15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. [NRSV]
Reading John 15:18 feels like I’ve fallen off the edge from one celebrated reality… the birth of the Promise of Advent as evidence of God’s love…and directly into a world of gray. That world is filled with inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. The edge is real and the world of gray is real. That’s unsettling because this world is our only option right now.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.” God’s Promise has not come to separate us from this world but to clearly define how different the options are on either side of that edge.
Jesus is our world-shaping option who’s provided another reality for navigating a complete life on the edge in this world while we learn to have faith: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” [John 17:15 NRSV].