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 (NRSV)
John was my mother, Retha’s favorite book of the Bible. The Book is full of love. Jesus has asked us to love one another--everyone in our congregation, those with differing societal views in our communities, and those we have not yet met. The concept of loving another is so simple, and yet so challenging when the practice of loving our neighbor is actually practiced. The recognition of my mother’s practice of loving others was a common concept as shared by others of the memories of my mother after her death.
Lessons during these difficult COVID times are plentiful, if one can look beyond the challenges. Again, looking at the past months of my mother’s life, there were gifts of love offered frequently. The gift of a home-made treat was an act of love when independence was not in question. The gift of love was a monetary gift to the church or in the form of a pledge through United Methodist Women. As independence slipped away, the gift was as simple as kind words of thankfulness—yet meaningful to the receiver. As death neared, the gift of love was a smile for a caregiver or family member.
The commandment to love one another focuses on the life of the Christian community. That focus does not provide grounds for dismissing the ethical seriousness of the commandment. Indeed, the history of the church and of individual communities of faith suggests that to love one another may be the most difficult thing Jesus could have asked. There are many circumstances in which it is easier to love one’s enemies than it is to love those with whom one lives. works, and worships day after day. 1
Prayer: Dear God, help me to be loving to others in my actions and deeds every day. Allow me to see the best in others and in turn offer love and kindness to all who cross my path. Amen
Newsom and Ringe. The Women’s Bible Commentary.