John 13: 31–35
Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.
When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified – glory all around!
“Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognise that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”
What are the greatest examples of love you can think of? We might think of some great poems and sonnets and love songs that have been written that express the emotion of love. But in reality, love is intensely practical. The hospice nurse caring for the dying patient. The mother clearing up her child’s sick in the middle of the night. The Foodbank staff listening to a client and providing for their needs. The parents who sacrifice their own dreams for the sake of their children. These are examples of love – love that is intensely practical…
Jesus’ death on the cross was intensely practical. It wasn’t a glorious chapter in his life; he was alone, he was in pain, he had to grit his teeth and just get on with it. That is practical love in action.
We too are called to practical love: to meet the needs of others in pragmatic ways that speak of love and care and compassion. We can’t walk by on the other side of the road. We are to meet needs wherever and whenever we can.
Practical love that is worked out in kindness and gentleness and patience and hospitality.
And we pray for ourselves that, as time goes by, we may increasingly model ourselves after the example of Jesus and fulfil the commandment to love as he has loved us.