To Love and Be Loved

When you are stressed, do you have any little quirks, little ways that you cope with that stress or avoid it? Lately, one of mine has been organizing the bookshelves. Yes, if I have something to do that I want to avoid, or if my mind is just running 100 miles per minute, I go down to the basement and organize the bookshelves. I start by genre, separating the fiction from non-fiction, the children's book from the novels, and make a special place for poetry. From there, it's time to alphabetize.

I think I like organizing the bookshelves because I like order. Also, when things are difficult, alphabetizing is simple. When the world is chaotic, shelving is orderly. When my mind is messy, an organized bookshelf is neat. Yet, even in organizing, it isn't always so simple. Do you separate young adult fiction from other fiction? If the author's written multiple books, do you alphabetize them or put them in the order of the year they were written? What happens when you have a tiny little book that, when put in its proper place, is completely hidden?

Order. Order can provide comfort but maybe even in order, there's a little chaos. Maybe in oversimplifying, we lose some of the mystery, some of the whimsy, some of the beauty. This week in worship our Scripture lesson includes one of the most well-known and often quoted verses in all of the Bible: John 3:16. I imagine just seeing that many of you can spout off the words: "For God so loved the world, God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life."

This text is on many a t-shirt and bracelet. It is often quoted as a favorite... but have you read the full periscope - the pieces before and after that one verse that put this beloved sentence in context? This week we will explore John 3:14-21 and see if there might even be more meaning behind this beloved verse in the somewhat challenging verses that surround it.

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