Choice Love

Sometimes there are passages of scripture that continue to leap out of the pages of the bible (or as is usually the case for me – to jump off the screen). This section of John’s Gospel is one of those – and it has been for some thirty years.

You may have had some kind of mystical experience that helps you to know exactly what Jesus is talking about when he tells us that he has loved us even as the Father has loved him and then invites us to remain in his love. But if you are like most people, then you probably first encountered God not in a mystical experience but through the witness of other people. And one of those friends helped you to know God’s love by loving you first. That’s how it was for me – long before I ever knew that God was real, I had heard of him and experienced some of his love through my family and then my friends. I found out that I was loveable because someone else loved me. And I discovered that I could love God and others through this love. This also helped me to stay connected with Jesus. Taking time each morning to open my heart to his love again helps me to remain with him throughout the day. This is the only way that my life can be fruitful.

The reason that this passage means so much for me is that it reminds me that my life is a response. I did not choose God. No, Jesus invited me into this life of being a disciple and living as a priest. In his grace, he approached me and made me an offer of pure love. He chose me for joy – joy that will overflow. He chose me for love. We are sent out into the world to love each other. He calls me to be his friend. We are not slaves in our relationship with God, although to be a servant of God like Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5), Joshua (Joshua 24:29), David (Psalm 89:20), Paul (Titus 1:1) or James (James 1:1) was already a high honour. Jesus offers something that is more than this – he calls us into a greater intimacy of love with him as a friend of Jesus and as a friend of God. How amazing is that.

+ Jesus, you call us and invite us in love to be your friends. That is the source of our greatest joy. Help us to remain in this love, and invite our friends deeper into the same love with you. Amen.

Sunday 6 Easter, Year B. John 15:10-17. Acts 10.

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