All Skate

I am writing to you who are God’s children
because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I am writing to you who are young in the faith
because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14 I have written to you who are God’s children
because you know the Father.
I have written to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I have written to you who are young in the faith
because you are strong.
God’s word lives in your hearts,
and you have won your battle with the evil one. – 1 John 2:12-14

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Purple Blooms Among Yellow Wildflowers | Fredericksburg, TX | April 2019

Hanover Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri had a skating rink in their parish hall. Wooden floors. Clamp-on skates. Fun music. Popcorn, Milk Duds, Slowpokes, and Cokes. It had it all. There were some good skaters there, but most of the evening was all-skate: Anyone – no matter their skill level – was welcome on the skate floor. That was good for me. I was barely able to avoid falling, but little else. I couldn’t skate backwards. I didn’t dare ask a girl to skate with me. I was thankful for the all-skate nature of that rink.

In God’s kingdom all of his children have a part to play. In these verses John makes it clear that each of us has a particular reason to pay attention to what he writes. In the ESV (a much more literal, word-for-word translation) John names the groups: children, fathers, young men, and little children. The New Living Translation (above) names them as God’s children, young in faith, and those who are mature in the faith.

There may be something worth exploring in these various specific groups of people John names. Maybe you can delve into the depths of the specific distinctions. But the general idea is that each of us has something to claim as a child of God. Young or old. Immature or seasoned. In the battle, or reflecting on God’s mercy: we all have some manner that makes us particularly unique objects of God’s love, and his love particularly precious to us.

Children don’t often know what they don’t know. They are in need of forgiveness in spite of their outward innocence. The sin to which young people are particularly prone is hubris. Young people can easily overestimate their own strength. Older people, on the other hand, are easily swayed to self-righteousness. They know the way things ought to be, but too easily overlook their own faults.

God’s mercy, forgiveness and love is for all those kinds of people. Those who are young in the faith have slayed the dragon. Those who are mature have a deep appreciation for the nuances of God’s character. Children have the living word of God in their hearts.

We can each reflect on and rejoice in the unique station of life we’re in, and thank God for his faithfulness in every season of life. He is the constant against which the waves of life ebb and flow. That’s true for everyone. All skate! Everybody in!

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