Let us consider the context of our Gospel story for a moment. It is the night of the Last Supper. Jesus the Master has stooped and washed his servants feet despite Peter’s protests at this show of servitude from their teacher. Jesus the Teacher has given them a new commandment, that they love one another as he first loved them. Judas, one of the twelve, will soon leave to betray his Lord. At this point in the story Jesus has already reminded the disciples that although he is leaving them the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, will come after he is gone to continue to teach them. And now, what was certainly a turbulent night, the Christ prays for his disciples, that God’s love might shine forth through them to the world. These are the words we hear in the Gospel today, those of Jesus praying for the disciples and for us.Read more...
“Love one another.” These are three simple words that are not so simple. “Love one another,” says Jesus. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”
We are not talking here about Valentines Day love based in the human heart, where love can come and go, be on fire one moment and gone the next. We are talking about God’s love, grounded in Christ’s sacrifice. Love born of God who spared nothing to race after humanity time and time again in order to restore the relationship with God that we keep breaking. No, this is not Valentines Day love, thank goodness and thanks be to God. For if this command to love one another were founded in human capacity for sustaining compassionate care for others, all would be lost.
...For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
There can be no doubt that the travesty in Boston, the heartache in Newtown, CT, 9-11 and other acts of despicable violence defy our mind’s comprehension. They press upon our heart and it’s capacity for sorrow. We ache and we cry out. For the people of Boston, for the people of the United States, for people around the world the words of promise here in Revelation echo: “the shepherd… will guide them to springs of the water of life and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”Read more...
“To be, or not to be?” This is the famous quote that begins Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet. The play focuses on the question of whether or not life, with all of it’s suffering, is worth living.
On this fourth Sunday of Easter the Gospel text invites us to a question as well. Will we share the faith we’ve been given?
In the third post-resurrection appearance, Jesus finds the disciples have returned to their previous occupation. You’ll remember, of course, that they were fishermen before Jesus called them away to follow him and become fishers of people. Now, having seen the risen Lord twice and been told again that all Jesus had promised them was coming true they are, well, still conducting business as usual. They have returned to fishing in the sea.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed, alleluia!
Yes, it is still Easter! Most of us may think of Easter as one day – last Sunday, specifically. Yet Easter is more expansive than this. Martin Luther reminds us that every Sunday is a little Easter. The Church has set aside 50 days of Easter leading up to Pentecost so that we may drink more deeply of this joy.
But the disciples in our gospel today, at least initially, aren’t feeling much joy. In fact, we find them huddled in fear in the upper room. Fear, for their Messiah has been crucified and killed and at least as of yet, they do not see that this death is leading to new hope.