A new command

Readings for May 9, 2021

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalm 98:1-4
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17


In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus does not make a suggestion or recommendation to his disciples. He does not ask them to coexist, exhort them to celebrate diversity, or encourage endless hugs and kisses. Instead, Jesus gives them a command, one which is then extended to us as his current followers: Love one another. For emphasis, and to cast aside any perception of ambiguity, he says it twice.

And what is this love that Jesus commands? It is not a love of attraction or romance or anything that might be found in a Hallmark card or a letter penned to our “one true love.” It is not solely a love of or for those who love us. In fact, as Peter says, there is no partiality in God’s love. And it is not a love that will come easily or without struggle either. Rather, Jesus commands that we love each other as he has loved us. And he loved us to death. Literally.

With this command, we go forth to suffer for love. We plow our way through the messiness and discord of love. We keep loving though it may not be reciprocated or even appreciated. Loving as Christ is exhausting, confusing, irrational, and radical. Yet when we’re tired and at our wits’ end, we keep pouring out love. Because that is our command. 

My Lord Jesus, you suffered and died for my love and so you command that I do so for others. We are to love all God’s created beings with the dignity and love of the Creator Himself. And that’s a tough task. So Jesus, I beg you to pour your love into my heart so that I may pour it out to others. May that love be my strength to persevere. I ask this in your name. Amen

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