…[T]hat which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that [your] joy may be complete.
–1 John 1:3-4 ESV
While reading Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley for one of my doctoral classes, I learned about the inter-related nature of all particles at the quantum level. In one experiment, scientists put two particles near each other to observe the reaction when only one particle was stimulated. As expected, the unstimulated particle also responded when the other particle was stimulated (similar to sound waves or dropping a rock in water). What I found fascinating is that when researchers separated the particles, the same phenomenon occurred. Quantum particles seem to affect each other instantaneously even when they are far away from each other. This phenomenon is quite confounding to researchers to the point that Einstein called it a “spooky action at a distance.”
While I’m no physicist, I do wonder if this “entanglement” phenomenon might be what John is describing in 1 John. Sure, there is a linear aspect unfolding in the passage, but I can’t help wondering if he has something more “quantum” in mind. John seems to almost quote Jesus from John 15 and 17, but this time, instead of Jesus extending the union He has with His Father to the disciples, John is now extending that same connectivity from himself to his Christian readers. As for Jesus, now for John, this union bound up in love seems to both produce and reveal a wellspring of joy that represents something deeply implanted within us.
I think John is saying, “We apostles are connected with the Father through Jesus, and we want you to get in on this wonderful relationship—we want you to enjoy a deep soul connection with us, and together we will enjoy the same with the Father and Jesus. We want you to know this joy that flows from the very heart of love.” The most striking aspect is that John sees their connection with himself as connection with the Godhead. The two seem inseparable.
Connection with believers is connection with God, and that connection is bound up in love, which produces and reveals joy. His words were not meant to address their minds; John speaks to the heart: “We want you to be caught up in this relationship of others-centered love and so, joy.” My prayer is that you are deeply stirred to worship and…you fill in the blank!
ACTION: What stirs in you as you ponder the implications of John’s words? Can you even imagine a connection with another that is so tightly bound up in God that joy is an obvious by-product of that love? If you can imagine such a connection, try drawing a picture or describing it in your journal. Think of yourself loving selflessly (as selflessly as possible) and picture what you might look like loving others in ways that stimulate their joy (and yours)—put this image to prayer and see what God does in you.