Today’s Gospel: John 15:9-17
There is so much in today’s gospel! Christ’s words at the Last Supper are some of the most tender, personal, and profound of all His communication to His disciples. It’s impossible to read them without being convicted that these words weren’t meant only for His disciples in that time and in that place, but through His divine Wisdom, throughout time and history to me. And you. And each one of us whom He has chosen.
Of all the love in this passage, the sentence that always strikes my heart is “No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
My family and I are a little obsessed with the Marvel superhero movies, for many reasons, but the best part of that whole franchise is the embodiment in movie after movie of this truth. There is no greater love than that ultimate sacrifice for a friend, a team or the world. But “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” means more than a dramatic, heroic death.
There’s a beautiful quote from a Dean Koontz novel that has stayed with me in the several years since I read the book. A husband discusses the reality of marriage, and says, “True love meant being willing to live for the woman who was the other chamber of your heart, to work yourself threadbare for her if necessary, to know her mind as you knew your own, to love her as you loved yourself, to cherish her above all earthly things unto the end of your years. There was the valiant and exhilarating life, more thrilling than ten thousand expeditions up ten thousand Amazons!”
And that, my friends, is the adventure of love we are called to imitate Christ in. To lay down our lives – moment by moment, breath by breath, little sacrifice by little sacrifice – for those around us, and in each moment, breath, and sacrifice to step deeper into the great heroism of Christ’s love.
It’s easy to lose sight of the opportunities we have to lay down our lives for our loved ones every moment of the day. What is one small “death” you can embrace today for your spouse, child, coworker or friend?
My Jesus, Your words to me today only begin to hint at the incredible depth of Your love for me. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that that love is meant for me, here, today. But I believe, and I love You, and I will do my best to abide in You today.
Copyright 2019 Rebecca Willen
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