April 9

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” vs. 34

Maundy Thursday gets its name from a derivation of the Latin word “mandatum” which means “commandment.” It’s a day set aside in the church, not to remember the origins of Holy Communion, but to remind us of the new commandment that Jesus gave his disciples at their last meal together. According to John, as they concluded the Passover, Jesus told his disciples in no uncertain terms that the mark of true discipleship was the love that they would henceforth show for one another. His words remain the marching orders for any who would presume to be his followers in this world. We should note that this is a commandment! Jesus isn’t asking that we have warm feelings of attraction for each other, though that may indeed happen occasionally. Instead he commands us to love just as he has loved us–and what kind of love is this? The context makes it plain–this is cross-bearing love, self-giving to the extreme, a willingness to lay down our lives for one another. In recent weeks we’ve seen countless examples of this as millions of persons have exposed themselves to the possibility of infection in order to serve and care for others. Their courage for the most part is not self-serving, but is rooted in love. It’s the way we’re supposed to treat others–all the time! It’s the way we let our lights shine in a darkened world.

Thought for the Day: How can “sheltering in place” be an act of love?

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