Love One Another as I Have Loved You

love_one_another_John 13:34-35 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Romans 13:8-10 (NRSV)
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

“Love one another” is philosophy–good philosophy–something every major religion advocates. But Jesus did not stop there. He added, “as I have loved you.” Word became flesh. A concept became concrete–truth illustrated. Jesus’ example was both the source and confirmation of the message. The pattern is still the same–the word must still become flesh in order to be understood.
– Steve Harper reflecting on John 13:31-35 in The Holy Gospel: April 28, 2013 (Year C)

In an age when the word “love” is greatly abused, it is important to remember that the primary component of biblical love is not affection but commitment. Warm feelings of gratitude may fill our consciousness as we consider all that God has done for us,  but it is not warm feelings that Deuteronomy 6:5 demands of us but rather stubborn, unwavering commitment. Similarly, to love our neighbor, including our enemies, does not mean that we must feel affection for them. To love the neighbor is to imitate God by taking their needs seriously. – Douglas Hare

What does love look like?
It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.
-Augustine of Hippo

To love your neighbor
is to welcome them
into the home of your heart
where God is.
– Steve Garnaas- Holmes, Heaven Grows Around You

If there is anything in which this life, this way, can be expressed, in which God has revealed Himself most clearly, it is the reality of love. You are someone only in as far as you are love, and only what has turned to love in your life will be preserved.
– Rule for a New Brother

Alas. It is so easy to talk, and so hard to do. It is easy to love people in theory.
– Dorothy Day

[Jesus said love] as I have loved you:
* radical love of enemies, the poor, tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes, lepers;
* the relentless challenges to the righteous and pious, truth telling, table overturning,
* and finally cross bearing and death embracing, laying down his life for his friends.
It makes me want to hide under my desk. I’d feel better if Jesus really ascended far away into heaven, remotely busying himself at the “right hand of the Father.” Unfortunately, the enthronement takes place within our own hearts. Loving one another as he loved us, is, indeed a most intimate commandment.
Suzanne Guthrie, At the Edge of the Enclosure

The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared? – Martin Luther

There comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now. – Wangari Maathai

Immense humility, and tender care and gratitude are always fitting for Christians. Being right is interesting, but love for those Christ loves is always one step higher in Jesus’ scale of values. – from the blog of James Howell

I can say that that eternal world is like the white light of the sun, in which all the colors of the rainbow are present and in which each retains its own distinctive character. Or I can say that it is like a symphony in which all the notes are heard in a single perfect harmony, but in which each has its own particular time and place. Or I can say that it is like a multitude of thoughts gathered together in a single mind which comprehends them in a single idea embracing all. Or going deeper, I can say that it is like a communion of persons in love, in which each understands the other and is one with the other. “I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one.” This is as far as human words can go. – Bede Griffiths, Return to the Center

For who can truly rejoice who loves not good as the source of his joy?
Who can have true peace, if he have it not with one whom he truly loves?
Who can be long-enduring through persevering continuance in good,
save through fervent love?
Who can be kind, if he love not the person he is aiding?
Who can be good, if he is not made so by loving?
Who can be sound in the faith, without that faith which worketh by love?
Whose meekness can be beneficial in character, if not regulated by love?
And who will abstain from that which is debasing, if he love not that which dignifies?
– Augustine of Hippo

Loving God,
you have made all races and nations to be one family,
and you sent Jesus Christ to proclaim the good news of salvation to all people.
Pour out your Spirit on the whole creation
and hasten the coming of your reign of justice and love among the nations of the world.
God of love, grant our prayer.
by Bosco Peters, from his free electronic book Celebrating Eucharist

Click here, for an incredibly powerful reflection by Steve Garnaas-Holmes on the steadfast and sacrificial love of God through Jesus’ death and resurrection entitled Victory.

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