Archive for March 24th, 2008

He’s Alive! Now What?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Today’s scripture: John 13:34-35 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tom Chittenden):

We’re now through the emotional ups and downs of Holy Week — from the hopefulness of Palm Sunday, to the sorrow and pain of Good Friday, to the joy of new life on Easter morning. And it’s easy to think, “Well, that’s over for another year,” and not let it reach down inside us and make a difference. But right in the middle of the drama, Jesus tells us exactly how we’re to proceed on Monday — and all the following days.

He makes time during these tense days to gather with His followers for “last minute instructions” — the distillation of His ministry and message.

When was the last time you can remember deeply loving someone?

Or the stirring inside caused by the mere touch of his or her hand in yours making you feel safe and protected?

Or the connection at the deepest level of your soul that came when you shared a deep passionate kiss with him or her?

I suppose I should stop here or this could become the first Be Still with a content advisory sticker.

To seriously consider the words of Jesus spoken to His circle of friends on Commandment Thursday — also known as Maundy Thursday — I began searching my feelings and emotions around my personal experiences with love in order to begin to put into context the meaning of this radical new commandment. Here’s what I believe to be true (at least for me).

Whether it be the love you and I feel for our children, or as a son or daughter for our parents, as a spouse or life partner for that “special one”, or even as a friends for one another, Jesus is teaching a new and life-altering way of interacting with each other. It’s a call to much more than romantic or platonic love. It’s a call to a “holy relationship” kind of love.

In the Old Testament we learn of the call to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and to also love our neighbor as we would ourself. But on this night, Jesus commands a new reality and relationship when he says, “Love one another. . . . AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. . . so you are to love one another!” If the disciples didn’t get what He was teaching them at that moment, within hours He would be demonstrating to them (and to you and me) just what He meant when He said, “As I have loved you.”

Taking off His outer garment Jesus, the Son of God, kneels in front of each of His chosen ones to wash their feet. I bet you could have heard a pin drop during those holy moments. Here is a sample of this new commandment in action. Here is a visual, living job description for each of us. God is Love. We are the children of God, created with the very same nature — in God’s image. Therefore the command transcends even acts of love. The new command is to be love.

And by this all people will know you are my disciples.

Thought for the day: Holy Spirit, remind me how to be Love to everyone who comes into my life today. So be it!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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