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The New Commandment

Holy Week is a big and hard week in the seasons of the church. There’s a lot of remembering of the last supper, betrayal, denial, arrest, beating, trial and crucifixion. We have a tendency to focus on the suffering and tribulation of the events of the last week of Jesus’ week. What gets lost is the important gift that Jesus left with his disciples after they had shared the Passover meal. He began to tell them that he was going to be with them just a little while longer and then left them with instructions. “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.” (John 13:34-35).

Jesus’ final and lasting instructions to those who loved and believed in him were about relationship. It wasn’t about how to pray. It wasn’t about what needs to happen in worship. It wasn’t about who can or cannot be part of the church or teach Sunday school or preach. It wasn’t about church leadership structure or which hymnal to use. It was about how those who love and believe in Jesus relate to one another. Jesus seems to understand that when those who follow him love one another in ways that can be seen and known by others, the world will recognize them as his disciples. No secret handshake. No t-shirt. No lapel pin or bumper sticker. Just love.

That love looks like a teacher and healer who serves.

That love looks like one who forgives their betrayer.

That love looks like the one who maintains relationship with a denier.

That love looks like one who lives as an equal.

As we begin our journey into this Holy Week, may we carry with us the new commandment that Jesus gave those who love and believe him: Love one another.

May the journey be deeply blessed.   Rev. Lynne

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