Jesus said, “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
I have friends growing up that I still hold as precious friends. We spent summers together and still stay in touch and we have collaborated on many things. Our children have grown up together and now our grandchildren are getting to know each other. They have each in their way taught me about love. We may have different theologies, practices and politics, but we are there for each other in our times of need. I know if I need an encouraging word, a place to stay, or a hand with something - they are there. We love beyond boundaries, distances and differences.
Jesus talked to his disciples about love. The kind of love that friends have, which crosses time and space. The love of God, which likewise crosses time and space and all boundaries. This love is not based on carnal needs, greed or anything but that compassion which is beyond each of us and comes from the Creator. It does not come easily to many of us, it is developed over years of trust and reliance, but we all have experienced it. Jesus invites us to live that kind of love daily.
Today I ask God to give me the strength to live love daily, and to be present to those in need around me. May we love one another because of God's love for us, and reach out to those who have never experienced the love which crosses time and space.