What a beautiful day it was on Sunday! Feels like summer is here with 25 degree celsius weather during the day and the warm breeze. Being a Sunday we of course gathered in worship as a Church community(which I will share a little bit more on further down) and once all of the visiting was done decided to head down to the beach, at old town, for some quality family time.
On the church side of things, it is always wonderful celebrating the Easter season. And on top of that we celebrate May as the month of Mary. So we had a ceremony for the crowning of Mary and we’re so sad we forgot to take pictures. But it involved the children processing with flowers up to the sanctuary, to the singing of Immaculate Mary, and placing their flowers at the feet of Our Lady. And then the rest of the congregation was able to come forward and do the same. We also placed a wreath of flowers on Mary’s head.
The Scripture readings from Sunday centred on the Golden rule: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15.12) A fairly repeated verse and one that we should all strive towards, but what does it really mean?!
For one, it means opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit. The 1st reading(Acts 10.25-48 and a little bit before to get the full context) really opens our eyes to this as we see Peter being led by the Spirit to a new way of thinking; really to see as God sees AND living from that. This isn’t always easy as we as usually tend to stay away from change! But it is from this that the early Church extends the scope of it’s mission from just the Jews to non-circumcised believers, in Peter’s words from a reformed view, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10.34-35)
Secondly, it means we have to abide in His love(John 15.9). There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love and He loves us all perfectly and equally. I think the key here is, also from this Gospel passage; “You did not choose me but I chose you.” (John 15.16a) It involves us giving up our control over our little story and surrendering to Gods’s love so as to be caught up in His great story.
Thirdly, and lastly, is the measure we are asked to give. In our society the word ‘love’ is used pretty loosely and lightly, but if we continue to look at this last weekend’s scripture passages we see it painted very clearly; “ In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4.10) And so the cross is what we measure our love against and by. We can say words, but they have no meaning until we put them into action; “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15.13) This is the measure to which we must love, laying down our lives, in other words sacrificing, for one another as Christ did for us!
SO, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15.12)
And in the closing lines of the Gospel passage we hear: “… I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John 15.16b)
Our very mission is TO love! And our individual mission which God has called us to, always takes the form of love, no matter what it is; it always takes the form of Him who first loved us. WE are chosen BY love, to BEAR love!
We encourage you today to abide in God’s love for you and to ponder your mission, to love, by asking yourself:
How am I to lay down my life for others?
How am I to make of my life a gift?
God is speaking to YOU, “I have chosen you to be a bearer of my love to the world!”
May the last two weeks of the Easter season be blessed for you 🙂
6th Sunday of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 10.25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4.7-10
*** Some themes and ideas paraphrased from Mark Hart (The Bible Geek) @ “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday Podcast” and from Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons Podcast.