Sunday 17 May 2009

Bible Book:

"This is my commandment: That you love one another, as I have loved you." (v.12)

John 15:9-17 Sunday 17 May 2009


When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus said it wasloving God and one's neighbour (Matthew22:37-39, Mark 12:29-31.This is, in fact, a quote from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18).In essence, Jesus is linking worship and ethics. But the definitionfor a neighbour, in Jesus' thought, extends beyond the borders ofIsrael (the Jewish people) and bonds of kinship. It includes thedemand to love our enemies (Matthew5:43-48, Luke 6:27-36). Topractise this type of love for neighbour and enemy bears evidenceof one's love for Jesus and for God (Matthew25:31-46, Luke 7:47).

The inspiration and example of such love can only be the example ofChrist himself. "Love one another, as I have loved you". This inturn was inspired by God - "As the father has loved me, so I haveloved you".

Jesus has already illustrated such love by washing his disciples'feet (John13:1-20) and it will culminate in his own death on the Cross.Jesus tells his disciples, "No one has greater love than this, tolay down one's life for one's friends".

In the liturgy for inducting a synod bishop in Kenya, which wouldbe comparable to the Methodist British district chairs, thecandidate is asked, among other questions, "Will you do all toensure that you love those you'd not normally love?" - to which thein-coming bishop is expected to answer to the affirmative.

To Ponder

Given that friendships are usually defined interms of mutual advantage, in what sense could it be said thatJesus had friends?

To what extent is Christian worship reflected ineveryday 'ethical' life?

In July 2005, Anthony Walker, 18, was killed in aracist attack. An ice axe was embedded in his skull. A journalist interviewed his mother, Gee Walker. As she foughtback tears, she said, "I can't hate them. We're a forgiving family... we don't just preach it, we practise it." What do you make ofGee Walker in the light of her comments?

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