I am going to ask you three questions that you can use at the dinner table, around a campfire, or share in a time of personal reflection. I invite your time of discussion to close with this week’s reading of the scriptures from the Gospel of John, Chapter 15 with one final question!
Do you remember the first toy you “loved?” Share with those around you. How old were you when you had this special toy. Did it have a name? Where is that toy now?
Can you remember the first time you told another person, “I love you”? Share with those around you. How old were you when you said these three words without being asked, but because your heart was so full you couldn’t stop yourself? Do you still have a relationship with that person today?
Can you imagine how the moment of being chosen, loved first, and loved forever could feel like? Truly imagine who could love you that much without exception and to the point of laying down their own life and then picking it up again – out of love for you and for me. This is the gift that Jesus gives to us this very day, in this very moment, and in the days to come time and time again.
The passage we will hear this week is part of a series where Jesus has talked about what it means to be a disciple, a leader, a shepherd, and a friend. Jesus invited his friends and invites us today into this claimed, compassionate, and merciful relationship with our creator. He not only reveals once again to us who God is but invites us to trust in the promise. It is you and I who belong to God. We are God’s beloved now and always.
For me, I sum it up like this, we were made out of love, to be loved, to love one another. We were made out of love (vs. 16, You did not choose me I chose you.) to be loved (vs 9, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love), to love others (This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.)
Gospel of John 15:9-17
9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants[d] any longer, because the servant[e] does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Who longs to hear, right now, that you love them? Tell them right now!