Friday, March 29, 2013

Love One Another

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”   John 13:34-35

Happy Maundy Thursday! Throughout church History, dating back to the 4th century, Christians have celebrated “Holy Week.”

The term "Maundy" is derived from the Latin mandatum novum referring to the new commandment Jesus taught His disciples the night of his betrayal. I can’t think of a better meditation for our times and for this day! Let’s pause together and look closer…
  • A new command I give you: The operative word here is command – This won’t come naturally! Jesus is commanding (NOT suggesting) something that will take other-worldly power and intentionality. I can just see the disciples getting their pens out, because this was going to be something new…
  • Love one another: And all the pens get put away…because that command isn’t new…it first appeared in Leviticus 19:18. The disciples must have thought,  “I’ve got that command down…as long as you let me define who the ‘one anothers’ are!  I mean I am a one another kind of person Jesus, but you have to let me pick my one-anothers! If the one anothers are my family, colleagues and friends, that’s easy! But Jesus’ love, which we celebrate on Good Friday, is never about just the easy to love people.  Just as Jesus did, he wants us to take our love to the margins of our life:  To the Least, The Last, and the Lost.
  • As I have loved you: This is the hardest part for me personally. Can I confess something deeply personal?  I have an extremely difficult time understanding the grace and reckless love of Jesus for me. My default is to believe the lie that I have to earn it. Jesus’ love for me (and you!) was most vividly displayed on the cross. (Which is the only reason why Good Friday is good.) Love is defined on the cross and to the degree that we comprehend and soak in the love of Jesus, to the degree that it sinks deep into the fabric of our being, this will be the degree to which we obey the command that bookends this marvelous truth!
  • So you must love one another: Jesus is saying, “I am not asking you to love people to the best of your ability, but to the best of MY ability! (As I have loved you!) I am not asking you to love people you already love, I am not asking you to love the people who are easy to love.  I am talking about something brand new in type and scope. Where you extend to people who are hard to love, (I call them EGR’s--Extra Grace Required people), the same kind of love that I extended to you.

Reflect with me and ask God to reveal to you ways in which you do not fully comprehend His love for you.  Where are you making subtle agreements with lies regarding God’s love?  Here are some passages that counter those lies with truth: 1 John 4:9-10, Romans 5:6-8, and Romans 8:35-39.
As we enter into Good Friday and our biggest Sunday Celebration of the year, I am convicted this Maundy Thursday that I have so far to grow when it comes to both understanding God’s love for me and loving people to the best of His ability. I want that to change, so please pray for me.
I look forward to being together in the coming days.  May the love, joy and power that the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ uniquely makes available be ours for the Glory of God!

I love being your pastor!