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.’
To love is to care enough about the other(s) to pass beyond one’s own self to theirs, and to do this for their well being, without self-interest. It is to bridge distance and otherness, and find, establish, a certain common ground. It is to seek to live for another as (at least mostly) we want to live for ourselves, careful for our integrity, health, balance, and thriving.
Love is more than ‘just’ care, because it will sometimes demand more of us than may – on the face of it – be good for ourselves. We may suffer adversity but our sufferance on behalf of others may make that adversity something we accept without counting the cost. And if we do, sometimes, count the cost, as we know Jesus did, then if we remain inspired by love then we simply know the cost is one we are willing, even happy to pay.
And it begins with the sense that despite our otherness, our being distinct from one another, we each of us matter, and matter to each other. In that, love begins to form. (Not necessarily liking, but love!)
The witness of Jesus is that without that love we are, and will remain, less than fully human.
In his love for us he offers a taste of what life is about. A taste restored to us in our every communion with him, and made tangible in a particular way in our Holy Communion.
- What gives taste, life, to your life?
- Where does it lack taste, life?
Bring your reflections to Jesus in prayer. Wait to hear his counsel.
Photographs of the West Door to Portsmouth’s Anglican Cathedral. The door both marks the difference between church and world, here and there, and also allows an experience of the presence/access of each to the other. (c) 2006, Allen Morris.