John 15, 12-14
Something to read
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Jesus’ command to all his disciples to ‘love one another’ is often quoted. It can easily be reduced, however, to a rather polite invitation to be ‘nice’ to one another; to be polite; to be kind.
Yet this is not at all what Jesus is commanding (not asking, note, but commanding – not a notion that sits well with our free choice society).
The depth of what it really means to love one another is the willingness to lay one’s life down for the other.
A willingness to give up one’s own well-being; self-fulfilment and years that might lie ahead in order that the other might live.
On this weekend of remembrance examples of such self sacrificing love will be told and heard from the realities of war. The bomb-disposal officer who loses his life protecting others through his work, for example.
But we might also reflect on those who lay down their own lives every day in caring for a spouse, or parent, or child who has a terminal illness or major disability.
We might think of the worker in a refugee camp who serves day after day with no thought for their own comfort and only the well-being of the refugee.
Laying down our life in love on occasions does lead to the loss of life; more often it involves the laying down of our own ambitions, achievements and fulfilment in order that others might live knowing they are loved.
Something to do
Find a way today of serving someone that actually costs you in terms of your own pleasure, fulfilment, ambition.
Something to pray
Lord Jesus, you laid down your life for us. Help us to do as you command and lay down our lives in love for others. Amen.
Today’s contributor is the Rt Rev Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, who previously served as the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.