Saturday, May 13, 2006

communion with each other (john 15)

A Christian is a person who loves God and loves the neighbor.
A Christian is a person who opens herself to receive God's great gift, love.
A Christian is a person who follows Jesus, the love of God incarnate, made flesh, made visible, among us.

I believe in love.
I know about love.
I can talk about love,
sing about love,
think about love,
search for love.

And yet there are times when I have difficulty with love.
I like to be the one to define what loves means.
I like to be the one who places limits on love.
I like to be the one to determine the conditions of love.

Followers of Jesus are immediately gifted with love.
Followers of Jesus are immediately confronted with love.
Love one another, Jesus says, as I have loved you.
Jesus feeds me when I am hungry; that is love.
Jesus clothes me when I am naked; that is love.
Jesus touches me when I am unclean; that is love.
Jesus welcomes me when I am a stranger; that is love.
Jesus heals me when I am ill; that is love.
Jesus forgives me when I sin; that is love.
Jesus restores me when I am broken; that is love.

I would like to love others as Jesus loves me, but what if...

They reject the food and clothing that I give,
or do not deserve them;

They draw away from my touch,
or refuse my hospitality;

They cannot break free of illness,
will not accept my forgiveness,
do not desire reconciliation?

Then I have offered a gift, but that gift has been squandered, buried, rejected.
And in some sense I feel rejected also,
because my love comes from deep within me.
My love express who I am.

As I live in Christ, I feel rooted, secure, connected.
As I live in Christ, my weaknesses, failures, shortcomings,
are accepted, through faith,
as my strengths, victories, achievements.

As I live in Christ
I find that I am drawn to his people,
the body of Christ.
As I live in Christ,
I bring Christ to others.
As I live in Christ,
I see Christ in others.

In my love for others
I come to understand something
of Christ's love for me, for...

I reject the bread of Christ
I want to clothe myself
I fear the touch of the master's hand
I would like to make my own place
I dread the process of healing
I question the possibility of reconciliation.

I know how I have responded to the love of Christ;
how will others respond to my love?

As I offer the gift I take a risk.
As I offer the gift I am vulnerable.
As I offer the gift I become a new person.
This is precisely why love is so frightening
and so wonderful.

The reality of love guides me toward connection, life, growth.

As I love others,
I am connected to them,
I experience communion with them.
As I love others,
I know life as if is intended to be lived.
As I love others,
I grow as a person.
I am called out of my own preoccupations and concerns
to consider the hurts, needs and longings of others.

When Jesus calls me to love,
he invites me into an experience
that is both joyful and threatening.

As I respond to that call, to love others,
I discover that I am required to give,
perhaps more than is humanly expected,
but I sense as well that I will receive
far more than I expect or deserve.


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