Excerpt from John 13:1-17, 31b-35
"Just as I have loved you…love one another."
Reflection by William C. Green
This day is called "Maundy," coming from a word meaning mandate or commandment. The Bible has already spoken of this commandment. In Leviticus (19:18) we're told to love others as we love ourselves.
But Jesus says not to love others "as we love ourselves" but love "as I have loved you." Love is turned from something that begins with us into something that begins with God. While God's love was surely known before Jesus, it's driven home in Jesus' own life and death. By his spirit we're drawn to his side as he lives and even dies for us, showing a love stronger than death.
"How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved," said Sigmund Freud. We're weak when we're not so sure. Often weakness masquerades as love when we "love" those who buy into our defenses and pretensions and can't see or confront our failings any more than we can.
The first followers of Jesus learned that God is a different kind of lover, one whose die-hard love calls us to account. If I am as loved as I am, why do I often act as I do? Why do I often treat others as I do? Why am I so full of hesitation and self-doubt?
Encouraged by God's love, we become far bolder ourselves, and more honest. A pretty good way to love others.
God, may I love myself and others the way you do. Amen.
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