Staying Connected- Part 2
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15:9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
15:11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
15:13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15:15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
15:17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
- We are picking up our service today continuing to think about that image of the vine and its branches. (Last week’s text was John 15: 1-8.) Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and connected to the vine we can produce good fruit.
- It’s Mother’s Day in the US. This is a joyous occasion. For many it is an opportunity to say thank you to the one who was the chief organizer, birthday party planner, science fair assistant, Halloween costume designer, cook, seamstress, cleaning lady and one doing the laundry. Many acts of kindness and caring that perhaps when we were younger, or if you’re still living with your mom, you may take for granted. We pause today to say thank you and I love you.
- For others, Mother’s Day is a day of mixed emotions.
- Relationship with mom was rocky or non-existent
- Motherhood is a blessing that has been elusive
- There are those who have become mothers too soon or later than expected and have to deal with the complicating issues those circumstances might bring about
- For those whose kids’ voices have been hushed and they no longer are around to send cards or gifts and come celebrate in person or by phone
- For those who love their moms but they no longer communicate in a way that is mutually understandable; those whose moms can’t receive gifts, or even hugs or kisses, because they are ill and suffering or separated because of Covid-19 constraints.
- There are those missing their mothers who they have loved dearly but who are no more.
- This is too much to think about? It’s Mothers Day. Let’s just all be happy. Why make so much of the things that could be depressing about the day?
- That’s what we are called to do as Christians. Ask, what would Jesus do, say or care about on a day like today or any day? How would Jesus notice everyone, care about everyone, love everyone by noticing and caring? Jesus would see those who rejoice AND those who are hurting. Those who are feeling connected to their moms in profound ways and those who aren’t and may be experiencing the pain of disconnection, perhaps for the first time, in profound ways. “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12.
- This command is for every day. Love one another. Deeply. Some scholars think that the “you” John was referring to was the church. We need to get ourselves together first, and in so doing—model that for the world. We can’t do effective work outside the church if we aren’t loving and caring about each other inside the church.
- Matthew 22:39- love your neighbor as you love yourself. And Luke 6: 27- 28, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” But this is a NEW commandment. Love one another, like I have loved you. Like loving mothers do (and dads—but today’s Mother’s Day so lifting up the moms).
- Be that witness to a commitment of solidarity and unity in a world that is marred with brokenness and division. This may not call for a martyr-like gesture such as the one exhibited by Naya Rivera, the Glee actress who, after pushing her 4 year old son up into the boat they had been on, drowned in July of last year. But it does call for loving deeply and radically.
- Such love is unconditional and is a precious gift that we give our children. For those of us who have been blessed by mothers demonstrating this kind of love, we recognize it is a precious gift we have received.
- For those who are disciples of Jesus—this is our living out the command. Love one another in a way that honors God. Loving in a way that is a response to the way we’ve been loved by Jesus, who offered the defining example of sacrificial love in his laying down his life for his friends.
- We end where we began, last week—asking the question how do we do this and arriving at the same answer: By abiding in Jesus. By staying connected to the one true vine. Resting in the assurance that he will give you what you need to do what he is commanding you to do. Because God is love, if we stay connected to Jesus who said he and the father are one—then we’d be connected to the source of our power to bear the sweet and succulent fruit of the vine which is love.
This week find a way to show someone some love. Maybe when it is inconvenient, maybe when you don’t really feel like it, maybe when it may cost you something, find a way to love as you have been loved, by God and then by your mom and/ or other special women in your life. Amen.