Little Children, Love One Another

“I have given them the glory that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.  I am in them, and you are in me, so that they may be completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.”  John 17:22-23

This is from what is called the high priestly prayer of Jesus, a prayer which He prayed shortly before his death.  It’s from the gospel of John, and reminds me of a story about the apostle.  He lived to be very old, and it’s said that when he became unable to stand and preach, he would be carried into the church where his entire sermon was simply, “Little Children, love one another.”  Love is the major theme in John’s writing, and in his life.  He knew that as Christians, we are called to be one body, to love one another and to love others. That is what the world should see when they look at us.

However, John’s simple message is easier said than done.  I’m currently reading the diaries of Dorothy Day, which I’ll probably finish and review later this month.  Dorothy was a Catholic who started a number of “hospitality houses” for the needy and homeless.  She welcomed and loved the kinds of people who were pretty unlovable — alcoholics, those who were mentally ill, some who were simply dirty and/or disagreeable.  She was criticized by many in the church for her “extreme” methods.  It was a constant struggle for her to love, yet she knew that was her calling as a child of God.  Like the apostle, John, love was her theme.

We too must deal with people every day that we have trouble loving.  Some are our neighbors!  Some are our fellow church members!  Some are family! Often people behave in ways that upset or annoy us.  We feel used.  We feel disrespected.  Face it, we feel angry.  We want to tell them off or walk away.  However, the words of Scripture are clear.  We are to love others.  We are especially to seek unity in the church.  We cannot allow our personal feelings to get the better of us. If we do, we’re disobeying the words of Christ.

So, here’s my point. Struggle, but don’t give up.  Remember your own sins and how you have been forgiven.  Let love be your theme.

 

Yaaseh Shalom

I recently read a novel (Inside, Outside by Herman Wouk) about Jewish life in America, and I learned this Hebrew phrase.  It is from the final words of the Kaddish, a prayer for the dead and it means, “He will make peace.”  It made me think about how Jesus does that for us.  He speaks about it in what has been called the High Priestly Prayer, in the book of John, Chapter 17.

First of all, through His sacrifice, He makes peace between us and God.  He prays

“…that they may all be one, just as you, the Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us …John 17: 21

He also makes peace between all believers as He brings us into His body, the church:

“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be perfectly one.”  John: 17:22-23

What a gift!  He has made peace. Yasseh shalom.

Christ’s Ambassadors

(“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”  John 17:26

This is part of what is called the high priestly prayer of Jesus, and he is speaking to His father.  Jesus says that the disciples (and eventually the church and therefore each of us) have been entrusted with His mission, the same mission given to Him by God the Father.  That mission is to make God’s love known to men and reconcile them to Him.

The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian Christians:

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5: 20

What a responsibility!  When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He entrusted His mission to us.  An ambassador represents the person or country from whom he is sent.  So I have to ask myself every day, “How well does my life represent Jesus?”

Here’s how Andrew Murray(a South African writer, teacher and pastor) describes the situation in his book, “Like Christ”:

“Believer!  whoever you are, and where ever you dwell, the Lord, who knows you and your surroundings has need of you, and has chosen you to be his representative in the circle in which you move.  Fix your heart on this.  He has fixed His heart on you and saved you, in order that you should bear and exhibit to those who surround you the very image of His unseen glory.  Oh, think of the origin of your Heavenly mission in His everlasting love, as His had its origin in the love of the Father.  Your mission is, in very truth, just like His.”

Is your heart fixed on the mission Jesus gave you? What will you do today to make Jesus better known and better loved? Are you ready to be His ambassador?