Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 30, 2014

This is my commandment, 
that you love one another 
as I have loved you. 

                                                                          Jesus of Nazareth, John 15:12 (NRSV)

Loving others as Jesus loves us is not an easy thing to do.

We like to complicate the matter.

This video shows a dog greeting the master after a long time away.  He is a soldier who was serving in Afghanitstan.

It is hard to watch this and not smile!

As I think about our enthusiasm for others, it is different than a dog's love for a master. We are more intelligent and discriminating but this also leads to us hurting each other more deeply.

We don't have enthusiasm for others like this and even this dog wouldn't have the same reaction for a stranger.  The command to love others as we have been loved doesn't come naturally.

It comes through faith.  It comes through prayer.  It comes through the reminder in worship that this is what we are about.

What does it mean that God would work through us to love others?

It might not look quite like the video.

But seeing others receive justice and joy can sure bring us a sense of meaning and well-being.  It can bring a sense of peace.

Peace that passes any real understanding.

Let us pray:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
St. Francis by Albert Chevallier Tayler (oil on canvas)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

                                                Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, 13th Century

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