A new commandment…LOVE one another (John 13:34-35)

Last week we gathered, some were missing (we missed you & travel safely) and there were new faces too!  Introductions were offered as we arrived and we began in prayer.  And then we jumped right in with our homework, we heard the prayers that had been written — prayers for those in authority.  Some focused on individuals we can name.  Some focused on those who serve on a national level.  Some included authority and leadership globally.  Some were shorter others longer.  One borrowed pertinent words from a movie.  One offered a song (side note: it has been said that a song is like a prayer offered twice which I find rather beautiful).  In all I heard a humility in the prayers created, an honestly and an earnestness — to be faithful even when we might not know which words are most faithful, even when the situations might seem challenging, even if perhaps we don’t understand why God chooses (or allows) who God does.  Each prayer was so beautiful.  It one blessed those who had gathered — all of us, and invited us to join in your voice (the one sharing their prayer).  One prayer that began with “Oh God….HELP!” ended with, “Please Lord, let Your voice be heard in a mighty way — guiding the paths of those in authority in the way of peace and justice.”  Other prayers asked that those serving in authority would seek You, and would come to receive grace!  It was powerful to sit around the table, and to hear how we are praying for those in authority, how we are seeking to be faithful to God and loving to neighbor in our daily lives.  Thank you all for these prayers, and for how listening to the prayer of another might even influence your own prayer voice!

After hearing from nearly all we turned to the Scripture du jour (of the day), John 13:34-35

34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Hearing this three times, allowing these words to wash over us was a gift.  It is all about love.  Christ calls us to love.  Someone mentioned how easy this is — so simple (yes, of course we know it’s hard….but in essence it’s so simple and beautiful isn’t it?)  One noticed how in all their reading of these verses they never had noticed, how we love points to Christ — our love (of each other) invites people to see Christ.  One pointed out this is for the Christian community, how we (we gathered round the table for example) love each other reveals Christ to others….so that means how I love someone on my best day (& WORST day) & on someone else’s best/worst….how I love people who are not the same (insert identity….political party, profession, personality, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, age, sexuality…essentially someone who is not you!) reveals Christ to others, to the world who doesn’t know Him.

And so, after observing and hearing insights around the table for a bit we turned to the homework of the week…a two-fold assignment to,

  • First, be the best and most loving disciples ever this week!  (Love your socks off!)  And observe, does anything change?
  • Second — make a 3-point (or a 3-step) plan to become a better lover — or to become more loving.  (Be ready to share your plan!)

There was a question about if our loving is for our fellow Christians, or everyone to which I said — “yes!”  And I also added that no it was not an option to just avoid people at all costs so as not to have the opportunity to be as loving as possible all week!  So — it’s Friday but guess what, everyday we have opportunities to love each other — so feel free to get to loving!  I’m excited to hear the plans and see how we might grow together to be better lovers so that Christ might be seen clearly though our loving!

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

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