Thursday, April 16, 2009
"This is my commandment that I give to you, that you love one another." John 15:17
The day before Easter was ugly and cold, with rain and wind making everyone stay indoors. Easter Day, in the little town hugging the shore where my mother lives, dawned bright and beautiful. It would have been the extreme opposite day from the previous one, except that it was still quite cold. The sun was glorious and we took a walk on the beach that Easter afternoon. My husband, daughter Emily and I enjoyed the sand and the surf, walking faces into a brisk wind. And then, it got to be too much for all of us, in the same moment, and we hurried off the beach to streets more sheltered from the frigid, driving wind. It was a beautiful afternoon, and a moment in time easy to be joyous. Easy to be loving and kind in the sunlight and opulence of God's creation surrounding us. After days of being cooped up inside, it was wonderful to roam freely, to be away from the rest of the family and to bask in the glow of mutual affection.
Jesus gives his disciples a commandment, that is so simple and basic, that it seems obvious. Love one another. And really, there are many days that it is easy, natural almost, to love one another. When the sun is shining and there is room to roam and enjoy, well, then it is easy to love. But we all know that the closer we are to one another, the more stress there is, or failure, or frustration - whatever it might be - sometimes loving others, whether family or Christians in community is the hardest thing to do. And the easiest commandment to break. All of us who live in families or communities know that the ones who can be most loving can also become the most hurtful and dangerous. Loving is not an easy, casual exercise but rather a life long discipline which includes forgiving self and others. Jesus gave few commandments, but the ones he gave take a life time to follow, a life time to obey, and a daily prayerful practice of forgiveness and restraint.
Today, I want to try to live Christ's commandment to love. Despite the hurts and bruises, I want to find new ways to love and forgive today. I pray that we can all bask in the love we have been given, like cats stretching in the sunshine, and find ways to share that love with those who make loving hard. May today we be given the strength to love the strangers and the siblings who torment us. And in that loving, may we know that Christ is working in us, making the impossible possible, making love bloom where there was once only pain.