Commanded to Love

Scriptures: Acts 8:26-40, John 15:1-8, 1 John 4:7-21

Let us pray:

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you our Rock and our Redeemer. In the Spirit of God, let us rest for a moment, abiding in the Holy. (Pause for a moment of silence) Amen.

This past week I attended Presbytery’s Discovery Retreat for new clergy. I was reminded of many things I sort-of knew about the presbytery and its organization, met lots of people new to Cascades Presbytery, and got trained on professional boundary issues. During one break in the first day, I found some devotional text provided in a pamphlet about the 14 stations of the cross; so early in the morning of the second day, I went up the road towards the Mt. Angel Abbey and satisfied a curiosity – I walked all 14 stations of the cross they have permanently installed along the forest walk climbing the hill to the Seminary and read the material that went with each station.

I was struck that the fourteenth and final station of the cross was the burial of Jesus, not his resurrection. Especially since in this season of Easter we have been examining resurrection stories for the past several weeks. Then I got to thinking, that is sort of like the ending we looked at in the Gospel of Mark. It is as if the pilgrim way leads you to a moment of decision-making; where you have to decide what to believe. Then, once you have made a decision, the path before you becomes more clear and, hopefully, more easily enacted in your life.

Let me read you the reflection from the final station of the cross:

Christ Speaks: “So ends my mortal life. But now another life begins for Mary and for Magdalen, for Peter and for John, and you. My life’s work is done. My work with and through my church must now commence. I look to you, my other self. Day in, day out, from this time forth, be my apostle – victim – saint.”

The summary of the devotional pamphlet goes on to unpack that a bit more as Christ speaks again:

“I told you at the start, my other self, my life was not complete until I crowned it with my death. Your “way” is not complete unless you crown it by your life. Accept each moment as it comes to you, with faith and trust that all that happens has my mark on it…this is all it takes: a breathing in your heart, “I will it, Lord.” So seek me not in far-off places. I am close at hand. Your workbench, office, kitchen, these are altars where you offer love. And I am with you there. Go now! Take up your cross and with your life complete your way.”

The first letter of John states very clearly that God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. We love because God first loved us. The commandment we have from the Lord is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. If we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us. That is our way, our life.

Jesus teaches: “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

So we are commanded to abide in Christ, and in so doing we abide in Love. We are commanded to love one another, and in so doing God’s love becomes perfected in us. Let us go forth into our families, our communities, and our lives, ever mindful that we are instruments of God’s love. May all glory be unto God and to the One who lived, died, and rose again for us, even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.

 

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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