S (Scripture): John 13:34 [Jesus says to the disciples:] “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
O (Observation): A new commandment. This doesn’t necessarily replace the former commandments, but this is a new commandment. Love one another. And not the way we think we should love one another.
Love one another: just as I have loved you. What does that love (Jesus’ love) look like, exactly?
Well, Jesus knows one of the disciples will betray him. This was just revealed in the preceding verses. Jesus loves him anyway. No defense. No weapons. Just let him go.
His love looks like servanthood. He just got done washing the disciples’ feet. He served the ones he loves.
Jesus’ love looks like righteous indignation when people misuse other people. That love gets tested when the helpless are cast aside.
A (Application): Love. How beautiful. To love one another is a rare and beautiful gift. Love, Jesus’ kind of love, makes one do bold and irrational things. Things that may not benefit one’s self, but certainly will benefit others.
Love may cause you to put yourself in harm’s way for another. Love may cause you to give your time and financial support to another who is going through a rough time. Love will remind you that you exist not only for yourself, but for the betterment of others.
I think of our veterans this day. Laying down one’s life is the extreme sacrifice. Serving this country means one gives up one’s independence (at least for a season). This move creates an atmosphere in which people depend on one another.
When soldiers return from active duty, they return to a world of individuals, independent of one another. Some handle this transition well, others, not so much. Perhaps we can empathize with these veterans who seek the community they once had while serving this country. Perhaps we can love them the way Jesus loves people: with service and with no regrets and with a full heart.
Thank you to all veterans. Your service is an inspiration.
And may we seek the day when war is no more.
P (Prayer): Lord, you call many to love and to sacrifice. We lift up our veterans to you this day – active and retired – and wish them peace and wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. Amen.