Ministry Updates for Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Scripture for Reflection – John 13:34-35

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.”

Reflection – Christian Unity

Jesus was gathered with his disciples for the highest of Holy Days in Judaism, the Passover Festival. At the beginning of the week, people would have flooded into Jerusalem, whether they were of great faith or of little, to experience the joy of the events, the reconnections with family and friends, and to wonder at the great Temple, as Jesus and his followers did.

Either by divine premonition, or by the simple experience of knowing what happens to people who try to change the world for the better, Jesus knew he was going to die and soon. He told his closest followers just that. But rather than be mired in defeat, he shone with joy. On this night he said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’. On this night he sought to raise his followers’ spirits. On this night, he prayed for them. On this night he told them they were no longer his servants; they were his friends.

But at the center of all this was something he saw as key to their souls and to the future of the movement. They were to love one another. This would be their burden, their joy, and their witness to the world. As their burden, they would have to be patient with the likes of Thomas who doubted their word and the word of Jesus. As their joy, they would lift each other up in difficult times, including their times in prison and persecutions.

As their witness, Jesus said the world would know they were His disciples by their love for one another. Let me repeat that; the world would know they were His disciples by their love for one another. They would not know they were his followers by their stance on baptism or communion; not by their stance on human sexuality, right to choice or right to life; not by their political affiliations or their national allegiances; not by their superior theology or by their excellent church programs. Their witness to the world began with how they loved one another.

Jesus knew, again either by divine premonition or by simple insight into human nature, that his followers would soon be tempted to be filled with hate toward those who took Jesus’ life. Instead of fanning the flames of hate, he encouraged them to stand by each other in love and care.

As we enter into this Christian Holiday weekend, which is likely to be the most unique one of our collective lifetimes, it is my thought to encourage you to continue to reach out with love and care to someone within the Christian community. I am not asking you to do anything new, because I know we as a church have already been doing this. We have found ways to stay connected, to pray for those on the front lines, to encourage those who have lost their jobs, to grieve with those who have lost loved ones. I hope those outside of the faith are watching, because it looks like we are loving one another to me. May God continue to enable us to do just that.


God of love and God of care, Jesus called us, his followers, to ‘love one another’. This is our burden. This is our joy. This is our witness to the world. Forgive us for those times when we could not overcome our division. Heal us from the divisions that remain. When we have done right by each other, fully loving as you call us to, lift our eyes to you so that we may see your smiling eyes. And God, when we treat each other as we ought to, we pray that someone in need of such a loving community might be watching, and that they might be so moved as to draw closer to you and to your holy church. We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen