This week we listen to the Gospel and hear how Jesus challenges his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you”… but in reality what does this really mean? Sometimes in the modern world we go to two extremes;
- We don’t have the time to stop and love one another – at times society tells us to focus on “number one” and we are lured into thinking it is all about what we own, how we look, how successful we are in our careers or other ways we may feel good about ourselves. This poses a risk in that we can end up loving ourselves too much and becoming introspective – our world can suddenly become very small and we can lose a sense of perspective. Ultimately when this happens I believe it has a direct impact on our sense of happiness and purpose and general well-being.
- We can think of Christian love as a “cop out” – at times we can think of the image of Christian love as being something where we can be a bit of a pushover. It can be seen as excuse to just “be nice” in some way and at times this can mean that we can accept 2nd best. I think this might have misjudged what we are being called to do as well!
So what is it that we can take from this message and how is it possible to live this out?
- Christian love is about love and forgiveness – the word as defined by wikipedia… Agape (/ˈæɡəpiː/ or /ˈæɡəpɪ/; Classical Greek: ἀγάπη, agápē; Modern Greek: αγάπη IPA: [aˈɣapi]), which means love: esp. compassion, forgiveness, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God. We are challenged to think about how this can be lived out. The love Jesus is teaching about is not a way out but a really challenging thing to do – sometimes it’s not going to be nice, easy or comfortable to do this in a real way because there is an honesty within it and also a focus beyond ourselves.
- We need to think of the impact we have on the world around us not just “our world” – in our personal and professional lives I believe we have a chance to try and embrace the opportunities and challenges provided by a life of faith. When we see beyond what feels good for us in the short term we can think of how we can make others happy and enrich their lives. In teaching and education we have a privileged opportunity to do this each day. The happiest people I know live their lives for others and can provide an inspiration for all of us.
In school I often talk about every person being “known and loved” and feeling that deep commitment to their lives in every way. I also talk about how we can “love people into submission” and never fail to believe or have faith that we can resolve any situation we face in some way.
So a few questions for this week;
- What can we all do to find the time to think of how we can love others in a meaningful way? This might be our nearest and dearest or people we’ve never met!
- How can we reset our perspective of the world to see beyond our wants and needs?
- What is it that can enable us to connect with others and show the deep rooted love for them each day?
So I hope this week you have the chance to “feel the love” and give the love remembering that the source of this love is inspired by God each day.