Saturday, June 6, 2020

Second verse, same as the first

John 14:15-16   (NRSV)

15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever 

Sorry about  the camp song title.  But I found it strange that I should have just finished writing, recording. and uploading tomorrow’s  sermon on keeping Jesus’ commandments from Matthew’s Gospel when I opened today’s lectionary readings and found a very similar direction from Jesus in John’s Gospel.   If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And these two passages feel a lot like the passage from Romans that I wrote about in yesterday’s journal.  It feels as if I am being directed to continue exploring the same theme in my writings.  I usually try to take that kind of direction when it appears in my life.

Jesus made a number of pronouncements which could very well be considered commandments, but it seems to me that each of them reflects the one he called the second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

Some examples of those might be:

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Do not judge, lest you be judged.

In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.

They can all be interpreted to mean pretty much the same thing.  They are simply different ways of loving the other, whomever the other might be in any given situation.  As long as we continue to love one another, as Jesus commanded us to do, then the Holy Spirit will be with us.

I see this as meaning not that the Holy Spirit will only show up when I am being loving, but that when I am being loving I am more open to hear what the Spirit has to tell me.  God does not give and then take back.  Rather God constantly offers blessings and directions through the Holy Spirit, and we either accept those blessings and directions or we don’t.  

Loving God, may we continue to take direction when you send it.  Help us to obey the commandment to love one another we have received from your Son, so that we will be open to your blessings through the Holy Spirit.  Amen

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