Monday, May 22, 2017

Love in Action

John 14:19-21 (NRSV): Love in Action
In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.
Last Tuesday, our high school hosted the Greyhound Choice Awards. For those who don’t know, this night gives teachers, staff, and administrators an opportunity to recognize loving qualities and characteristics in students who more often go unrecognized. And as I sat in that audience, I was moved by the presence of love and devotion among my colleagues. I was inspirited by the glowing faces of the students as they received their acknowledgements and awards. I was heartened, most importantly, because I knew Christ was present in every sincere face, thought, gesture, and word on that stage and in that room. The place trembled with God’s love.
In this passage from John chapter 14, Jesus reminds the disciples of His everlasting presence in them if they continue to follow His commandment to love. In John 13:34-35, the great commandment Jesus gives to his disciples is to love (the original Greek is agapao) each other without limit. It is through that highest form of active love, then, that Jesus reveals himself (21). As Jesus’ disciples today, we, too, are all called to give pieces of ourselves away to others: We are called to agapao others. And when we do this, we make Jesus visible in the world.
I witnessed this love, the visible presence of God, Tuesday night on stage and in that room. People got up and gave a piece of their hearts away to each child they honored. Their active love was made tangible in the fondness of their faces, the sincerity of their voices, and the tranquility of their tears. And the students, in turn, reciprocated that love through their joy and thanksgiving.
St. Teresa of Calcutta, a disciple who constantly gave herself away to the poor, said, "If you do your work with joy, you can bring many souls to God. Joy is prayer, a sign of our generosity, evident in our eyes, our faces, our actions." Our joy, our prayer, our generosity, and our actions are God’s gifts to us. Let us joyfully share our gifts through active love -- offer a smile to a stranger, say hello to someone new, write a letter to a distant friend, tell someone close “I love you,” perform a random act of kindness for someone, pray for a person who needs prayer.
I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we all live in the loving light of Jesus Christ and look for the moments in our day when we, too, can offer small acts of self-giving love.
Have a blessed week.