“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:12-16
Last night, as we were watching the end of a movie, the floor began to shake. At first it felt like a huge truck was passing by, but it continued on and on. Within a few minutes the television was reporting an tsunami warning and we were to evacuate to higher ground - the high school just a few blocks up the street from us. After rousing our neighbor, we collected a few things and the three of us drove up to the high school.Some folks were frantic on phones trying to find family members. Others were conversing and laughing, sharing stories about what they were doing when the earthquake happened. Most of us looked dazed and tired as we sat and waited. The woman sitting next to me kept saying that she wanted to go home. I was grateful that there were people who knew what to do and where we should go. We were safe and warm. When the all clear notice went out we were all quite happy to head home. We were drawn closer as a community for a time, holding each other and our neighbors close like family.
Jesus is talking to the disciples about relationship. The rules he sets down are no longer based on control and restrictions but upon love. He invited them to understand that their motivation for faithfulness should no longer be fear but love. God is treating us, no longer as servants, but as family. We are to care for one another as a loving family. And more so, we are to care for the world as one family, with no limitations and no restrictions.
Today I ask God to help me to be motivated by love in all things. The world may shake around us but God has promised to be with us, close like family, willing to give up all for our safety and care. May we trust God for our daily care and give thanks for our neighbors who protect and care for us. May we give thanks for morning light and the love of all that surrounds us this day.