Abiding in God’s Love

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By Rev. Canon David B. Tabo-oy

“ “Abide in my love.”Abiding is not only a state of mind and spirit. Jesus emphatically says the road of abiding consists in keeping his commandments (John 15:10). Jesus again urges his disciples to do this since he has kept God’s commandments, and the results of such abiding were observable in all he did. ”

v9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. v10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. v11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
v12″This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. v13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. v14You are my friends if you do what I command you. v15No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. v16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. v17These things I command you, so that you will love one another. – John 15:9-17
Christian men and women are not called to like everyone. The old but still popular song is titled “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love,” and not, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Likes and Dislikes.” If there are folks to whom you do not warm, know please that you are not in violation of any Christian norm.We are not called to like, but we are called — and this is the burden of our text — to love: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you,” says Jesus.
One preacher says, ‘Love, as it is defined by our faith, is both a revered panacea, and an underemployed practice. To say that the answer to the world’s problems is for people to love each other more is both right and banal at the same time. It sounds wonderful and grand. Who would argue with the contention? But when you sit eyeball to eyeball with another person — especially one who is cantankerous, obnoxious, difficult, unlovely, and seemingly unlovable — it is anything but an easy task.’ There will be more than a few times when we say with Jeremiah: “O that I had in the desert a traveler’s lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them!” (Jeremiah 9:2). Frederick Buechner has observed: “In the Christian sense, love is not primarily an emotion, but an act of will.”
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“Abide in my love.”Abiding is not only a state of mind and spirit. Jesus emphatically says the road of abiding consists in keeping his commandments (John 15:10). Jesus again urges his disciples to do this since he has kept God’s commandments, and the results of such abiding were observable in all he did.
In both verses 9 and 10, one is reminded of a parent leaning over a young baby, with smiles, trying to elicit smiles, and with gestures encouraging the baby to do the same as the parent. Jesus’ use of himself as the model for love, and for commandment keeping, is anchored in daily life. One imagines his encouragement: “You can do this! You can do this because I have done it, and I am here to show you how to do it.”
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If love for one another is the goal of our abiding in Jesus’ love, then the model for that self-giving love is stated clearly in the memorable beginning words of verses 10 to 17. There is no greater love than that shown in the giving of one’s life for one’s friends. Though stated in general terms, the “laying down of one’s life” is a pointed reference to God’s giving of the Son, and in the narrative an only slightly veiled reference to and anticipation of the passion and death of Jesus on the cross. The power of God’s great love in Jesus, confirmed in Easter’s promise of the resurrection, always has its frame of reference and its power in Jesus’ giving of his life on the cross.
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Jesus now speaks of the power of that giving of life to transform the disciples’ relationship and calling into a new status. These disciples are no longer to be counted as “servants” but as “friends.” In the cross and resurrection, they have come to know what this “greater love” has power to accomplish in them through their unity in the abiding relationship with Jesus and the Father. Jesus’ words now make it further clear that the power to respond to his command to love one another comes from Jesus’ own prior love and calling: “I have called you…; I have chosen you…; I have appointed you… (15, 16).
Love and action are interconnected, bound up together. When we love like Jesus then we will want to follow the commands of God. When we love like Jesus, we will want to show it, not because we have to, but because we want to. Real love isn’t blind. It isn’t ignorant of the facts. Real love is love that continues despite the facts. Real love finds the way to move on despite failure and disappointment.
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It may seem that God’s love is demanding. It is full of spirit and promise yet it simply means that He unconditionally loves all the people in the same way. Therefore, we need to obey His command which is to love other people whatever circumstances they might be in. This kind of love will bring us joy, not just a simple joy, but the deep-seated sense of happiness of having Jesus Christ in our being. It is a complete fulfillment and pleasure to be in the presence of God. Thus, this love will let us bear rich fruit which will exist eternally. God wants us to commit and to always find new ways to continually spread His love. We can do it for in doing so He will never leave us alone. He wanted every person to be united with one another. He also invites us to pray as an acknowledgement for His love to all.
Let us pray.
Sixth Sunday of Easter
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts
such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all
that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
ever. Amen. (BCP)


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