Thursday, April 28, 2011
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, “They hated me without a cause.”
‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. John 15:12-27
In the past few weeks, much of the real news time on television has been given over to the excitement over the royal wedding of Will and Kate, which is scheduled for tomorrow, very early in the morning our time. So much talk about who is invited and what everybody is wearing, along with glimpses of royal activity and preparations at Westminster Abbey. Some people in the U.S. will rise up early and have parties as they watch the wedding on live TV. There is a furor over the whole event and it has risen at a feverish pace. Some folks are caught up because it is simply everywhere. And yet, there is so much war and poverty in the world, so much need and so many without that it is hard to look at all of this a not wonder where real love is. Where is the compassion for the least? We want to watch close up as a country girl becomes a princess, but turn our heads when the street sweepers and the homeless return to their customary places near the palace gates.
Jesus talks to the disciples about true love - not fairy tales with princes, jeweled slippers and gowns - but an offering of one's whole life, one's whole being for another. Love which takes the scorn and shame of the world and still loves. Compassion that is not dulled by pain and suffering but which is ignited newly every day. A willingness to open our eyes to those around us and act in love with them every moment. Every action a gift an offering, not for our own self-aggrandizement but for simply the care of others.
Today, as festivity swirl, I want to remember those around me today who need to know what love is. Those who need affirmation and recognition, those who need a meal and warmth and those who need shelter and the kindness they have never received. May I be ready to offer my all to another today, following Jesus, whose every command is to love and to serve.