John 15:9-17Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant 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. 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. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another."
Love and Mothers: One of and probably the first person to love you was your mother. Think back at some experience you had with your mother. I know my mother loved me even though she was a very troubled person. She used to call my brother Bob and I her little boys, even when we were a good five inches taller than her. Whenever she would use that phrase I knew it was a term of endearment.
When I was little, probably seven or eight, she would let me spend time listening to the radio in my parents' bedroom before I would have to go to my own bed. One of the family favorites was the Bickersons. It was probably because one of the main characters in the radio program was Don Ameche. He was my uncle Leo's roommate in college.
When you are part of what would today be called a large family, spending alone time with a parent is a pretty big deal. I think these are important bonding times. They are times when the love a parent has for a child can really be shown. There were a lot of bad times in our household but the times I remember most are times like that. I loved my mother and she loved me. I only wish I had told her so more often.
I would like for some of you too share something that your mother did for you. Lets just make it a conversation. I remember that when my mother changed the sheets on my bed she always put some fragrant powder on the pillow. I loved it.
In our reading, Jesus talks again about love. He also talks about friendship. Are these two things different. I really don't think so. I think love and friendship are intertwined.
Jesus talks to his disciples and says, “Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” He continues, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
I struggle some with that statement. It sounds like conditional friendship to me, “you are my friends if you do what I command you” but if you turn this around in your head it makes sense. People who show love for others are Jesus friends. People who do not show love are not. When you show love for your fellow man, your relationship with God deepens. When you turn away from your fellow man, you turn away from God as well.
I think Jesus is saying that when you are choosing to not love your neighbor you have made a choice to not love him and you have chosen to not be Jesus' friend. God and God's creation are connected. Remember the metaphor of the gardener, the vine, the branches and the fruit? If God lives in you and you live in God then the bond of friendship and love will be strong. When you choose to live in God, you will also find God's peace.