Friday, 11 May 2012

Love. love, love

Sunday GospelJohn 15:9-17 

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends,
if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business;
I call you friends, because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit,
fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you
anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’

Someone answered a child's question "Is Jesus real?" with the answer: "Well, put it this way; he isn't tangible." For Christians this is the wrong answer. It is our life’s work to make Jesus both tangible and real; firstly to ourselves and then through us to others.

As human beings, it seems the last thing we want is to be told what to do. The minute we are given a rule we begin to revise it in our head and then in our actions. When Jesus first introduced the Great Commandments it must have appealed to many – love God; love each other – simple really. Until it comes to putting it into practice.

Jesus’ belief in love consumes everything and everyone – there are no limitations or exclusions. Jesus is our example in his own willingness to follow difficult and dangerous paths. We, on the other hand, have to be commanded to do it otherwise we wouldn’t even try – it is a challenge and a sacrifice to make God’s love known in the world; And it all hinges on knowing that the Father loves us – each and every one of us. 

Knowing this gave Jesus the strength to obey his Father no matter how hard the journey - and how hard it was. Jesus found his rest in God’s love.

How hard it can be to feel that God loves us as He loves his Son. Feeling unworthy, thinking ‘if you really knew me’, puts an unnecessary distance between us.  It's a gift we rarely give ourselves. A gift we can only receive through Jesus. You have to meet him as the disciples, the women and all the saints that have gone before have met him - intimately, deeply, lovingly.

In a world of communication overload you would think it would be easy getting to know people but often it seems more like attention seeking; counting 'friend's that we have never met, 'followers' who have never stepped in our footprints. As human beings we are always looking for relationship; but relationships must have layers of encounter;  giving and a response; they need to be 'alive'. 

If we believe Jesus is real but not tangible - then we need to develop the relationship some more through prayer and contemplation.   Taking time is key; taking time to get to know each other; learning to be friends; learning to love; remembering that he has chosen you.


John 15:12
'love one another, as I have loved you.'

To throw a quote back at you, Lord
You do not know what you ask…

To love one another 
as you love
and to make it sound so simple 
one law; 
one commandment.
But Love, Lord?
I don’t even know how you love me.

And yet you say the Word
And I am healed.
So the least I can do
Is try.

Find a time and a quiet space; give yourself 20 minutes minimum. Sit comfortably but upright with open hands and legs uncrossed; breathe easily and slowly keeping the shoulders down and letting the stomach muscles control the in and out of breath. Close your eyes or concentrate on a candle or simple image. Hear Jesus saying to you 'Remain in my love'. After 20 minutes give thanks for his loving attention; let breathing come back to normal;open your eyes and return to the day holding the peace within you and offering it to others that you meet along the way.



Barbara In Caneyhead said...

I easily believed Jesus was God's son, that he died for my sin, that I needed his forgiveness...the whole gospel as a child of eleven. I believed He, God the Father and the Angels watched over me. I wanted to please them and do well in Sunday School. Be a good girl. But it took me almost twenty years to learn how to make Him Lord of my life. To be close enough to actually "feel" him hold me when I cried. He is my friend. - Barbara
Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Word in the Hand said...

In conversation with others, its amazing how people 'feel' God in different ways at diferent ages. It is a gift of grace. The faith of a child or the need of an adult. It is always, hopefully, a growing relationship. blessings Barbara