Sis Mather, a long time member of St. Luke’s who died nearly three years ago, used to have a Bible verse on a banner in her family room: Love One Another. I remember I laughed the first time I saw it because I thought it was so true to Sis and so appropriate for any family room.
In Sunday’s Gospel, John 13:31-35, Jesus thrice repeats this fundamental commandment of the Christian faith: Love one another.
Christians have debated nearly every element of our creeds, rites, and canon of scripture. But every Christian of every time and place would surely agree that everything we say and do as Christians is shaped by this single commandment given by our Lord and repeated at least 24 times in 10 different New Testament texts : Love one another.
Jesus' clearly refers to love as something we do, not something we say or feel. He isn’t commanding our emotions to feel warm and fuzzy toward our enemies. But he is commanding us to treat our enemies with dignity, respect, to render them justice, food, health care, and in other ways treat our enemies with love.
As you prepare for worship this Sunday, and as you go forth into your service of God in your public and private life, keep this commandment before you. Talk about it with your children and your colleagues. Consider what it demands of you in your dealings with clients and strangers. We surely fall short of it, but there is no doubt that this commandment is the standard that is meant to rule and govern our lives, and the one by which we will ultimately be judged. Love one another.