Sixth Sunday of Easter – John 15:9-17 The two words: Love & Friend
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Let me ask you a question first. If you can say only one word to describe what Christianity is, what would it be? Anyone can say or type a word?
Like many of you, I believe Christianity is all about love. Jesus makes it clear when he gives his disciples a commandment in today’s Gospel reading: “Love one another as I have loved you.” But, think about it. Jesus ‘commends’ them ‘love one another’. Do you think ‘love’ is a thing that we can do as you are taught intentionally and commended to do? We ‘fall’ in love, not intend or plan to love. It is possible for children to behave as if they love, like share your toys, say thank you or sorry, don’t kick, be nice…’ but you know these are not exactly what Jesus is talking about. It is more than that. Jesus says ‘love as I have loved you.’ Which sounds like an ‘impossible’ love.
The way of Jesus’ life and ministry, all are about love, so we as followers need to find what it means to us. How shall we love as Jesus loved? How can we be compassionate to others as much as Jesus did? To be honest, I like to feel comfortable. I’m not an adventurous person. I’m not naturally a challenge or risk taking person. I like to be safe, stable, and happy. I want to hang out with
the people that I love. That is me personally. But I know that is not what Jesus’ love looks like, not how I’m called to live as a Christian and a pastor. I mean, not just for people like me, but for everybody we are called to expand our boundaries, our circles to open to anyone and be a family with strangers. And it makes any of us put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. In my personal practices, I often think making donations either big or small amounts could be easier than changing my perspectives, attitudes, my way of living in order to be more like Jesus’ inclusive love, because taking risks or being vulnerable by being challenged is hard and costly. So, we all know ‘love as I have loved you’ is not an easy and light commandment. So, what can we do?