13 May 2012

John 15:9-17

"This is my commandment, that you love one another." (v. 12)


On Valentine's Day I stood by a florist street-stall watching mothers and grandfathers, as well as younger people, arrive and make their purchases for their sweethearts - a truly moving sight.

There was a vast array from which they could make their choices, not least the prices! The roses however, were a special breed ... no thorns!

If only love were so sweet, beautiful and painless. But real life love is rarely that. Yes it has its times of pure joy, delight and pleasure and we hope that is most of the time, but these are often mingled with the pain or sorrow of what it costs to love.

Charles Wesley's hymn, Jesus has died that I might live, reminds us of the costly, self-giving love that Christ pours out over the world from the cross. Such sacrifice takes the quality of love to the very depths of our being, away from the frivolous and commercial, challenging us all to live honestly with our heartfelt emotions and deep substance of our lives.

Today's passage from John's Gospel comes amid the final discourses in which Christ seeks to warn the disciples of what is coming, acutely aware that the time of parting will be very hard for them, thorns will pierce them all.

So, when Christ gave us just one rule to live by, "love one another", he did so knowing how hard that would be for us all; to live 'in love' throughout our lives - thorns and all.

This week we rejoice with heaven at the reuniting of God with God's Son on Accession Day (Thursday). For us we may feel pained at the remembrance of a final act of separation from us but that loss serves to unite us with God's costly love for us. It is a love which asks us to love God and love one another for their true love lies.

To Ponder

When we separate ourselves from God by our actions or thoughts, how can we begin to live again in a way that demonstrates that we are still in love with God?

It can be said that most people prefer to keep themselves to themselves. How might you try to overturn this trend in your everyday life?


Bible notes author

Margaret Sawyer

Margaret Sawyer has worked for the Methodist Connexional Team for ten years, first as connexional secretary for Women's Network and then as the Church's equality and diversity officer. She now works to support preaching and worship in her local circuit and district.