For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
This is one of the best known and most quoted New Testament scripture. For those us who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, this passage is a real reason for celebration. And it also gives us a reason to be hopeful about our non-believing neighbors and friends. God wishes for the world to be saved, and we can pray and work to that end.
In the Worshipbook (jointly published in the early 1970’s by The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The PCUS, and The United Presbyterian Church), we find this prayer “For Those Who Do Not Believe.” This may give us voice and vocation today.
God of love, who sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost: may we who have been found by Him value those who do not believe, and never shun neighbors who reject You. Remembering how our faith was given, may we preach good news with goodwill, trusting You to follow up Your word, so that people may hear and believe and come to You; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.