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.’[John 13:34-35]
Here we are again. Jesus will wash our feet, modeling servanthood. Jesus will bless wine and bread and become those very things and ask us to eat and drink in remembrance of him. And then there's also this commandment. Like the Ten that Moses retrieved from Mt Sinai, it is not a suggestion or a nice idea to think about. It's a command. Love one another.
Can I just confess that there are a lot of people royally pissing me off right now? And that sort of diminishes how I feel. I'm angry at a lot of people, some of them also say, like me, "I am a Christian." I'm not feeling particularly loving.
It is, after all, a presidential election year here in the USA.
Of course, this works both ways. I'm sure I'm making my share of people angry. I'm sure there are people who are not feeling particularly loving toward me.
I have my fallback rationales, things like, "disagreeing doesn't mean we hate each other, argument doesn't mean we're enemies." Can I truly say it feels that way? No, I can't.
I don't have any platitudes to offer, or any warm, sweet things to say about this. If anyone is to know we're disciples of Jesus, we are to love one another.
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised that this brings to mind a saying of a Desert Father:
Abba Zeno said, "If [someone] wants God to hear [their] prayer quickly, then before [they]
pray for anything else, even [their] own soul, when [they] stand and stretch out
[their] hands towards God, [they] must pray with all [their] heart for [their] enemies.
Through this action God will hear everything that [they] ask."
Serious words from both, Jesus and Zeno.
May we live into these words. Seriously try them on. I'm not pretending it's easy.
On this, have nothing more to say this year.