Love One Another and the Love of a Mother
By Rev. Canon David B. Tabo-oy
v9I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. v10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
v11″I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. v12My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. v13The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. v14And you are my friends if you do what I command you.
(Read: John 15:9-17)
The Gospel lesson appointed this Sunday punctuates Jesus’ teaching to his disciples that he is the true vine and we are the branches. If we are to be fruitful we have to be connected to the vine. And with our story last week, we cannot shine our lights if we are not connected with the power source, Jesus himself. Jesus is telling us that if we are to be connected with him we must obey his commands. His commands are summed up, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.” In the Christian realm this has become a panacea. However, it is easier said than done as attested by unnecessary confrontations among believers.
If you study the life and words and parables and sermons and actions of Jesus, you will find an eternity’s worth of things you should do. But there was precisely just one thing which was so vital that Jesus actually went so far as to phrase it as a command, and that was to love each other. We are to love one another, cherish one another, even lay down our lives for one another if need be, and it is all an extension of being a branch on Jesus the true vine. Apparently Jesus knew that if we could do just this one commandment, everything else would follow.
Chiara Lubich wrote in “The Art of Loving”: ‘By loving my brother, I become closer. Let us take our love to someone we know is lonely. We must be one with our neighbor not in some ideal way, but concretely, here and now and not just in some distant future. Becoming one means feeling ourselves how the other feels. We deal with these feelings as though they were our own, since love makes them our own. Become the other. We do this out of love for Jesus in our brother or sister’.
This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. Let us connect the love that Jesus is telling us to the love of our mothers and in all our best reciprocate such love.
If moms are to be faulted, it is because they love their children so much that they get irrational about it. For instance, in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin approaches his mother…
Calvin: “Can Hobbes and I go play in the rain, Mom?
Calvin: “Why not?”
Mom: “You’ll get soaked.”
Calvin: “What’s wrong with that?”
Mom: “You could catch pneumonia, run up a terrible hospital bill, linger a few months, and die.”
Calvin, looking out the window at the rain: “I always forget. If you ask a mom, you get a worse-case scenario.”
Hobbes: “I had no idea these little showers were so dangerous.” (Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin & Hobbes, p. 130.)
Washington Irving (1783-189) wrote, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy
and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice
with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
One Day Is Not Enough
While it is wonderful that we set aside one day to especially honor mothers, let us reflect for a moment on all of the things mothers do for us. First of all, they bring us into the world through a biological miracle that is amazing, but certainly not easy. Then they spend the next two decades preparing meals, solving problems, kissing boo-boos, helping us learn everything from how to brush our teeth to how to navigate the difficulties of the “real world.” They spend the rest of their lives fretting and worrying about us. They care for us in a way that is beyond words. They sacrifice for us in ways beyond words. Even after they have passed on, and Mother’s Day can be especially difficult for those of us who have lost mothers, their influence is so powerful that it stays with us always. I propose that one day is not enough. One day is nice, but it is not enough.
So while we take this day to especially honor mothers, let us think of it as a planning day. How can we honor our mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, and aunts each and every day? How can we recognize their special contributions to our lives every day? Let us take a moment to jot down five ways we can truly honor mothers, from our own mothers to the young mothers in this congregation, to the mothers who might be missing their grown up kids, to mothers who may have passed away. Now, let us make a commitment to honor these women every day of the year because one day is not enough!
A Mother’s Prayer
If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper—not a homemaker. If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness – not godliness. Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window. Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk. Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys. Love is present through the trials. Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive. Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood. Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart. Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.
As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love. – Author Unknown
Jesus said, ‘Love one another.’ The first characteristic of Christian love is that it reaches “to all.” This way of loving requires that we love everyone, as God does, without distinction. We do not choose between who is nice or unpleasant, old or young, countryman or foreigner, black, white or yellow, European or American, African or Asian, Christian or Jew, Muslim or Hindu…. In today’s terminology we could say that this kind of love avoids every form of discrimination. (Reference/Sources: Chiara Lubich – The Art of Loving; eSermons.com; NIV Bible)
Let us pray.
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, we 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. (ECP-BCP, Sixth Sunday of Easter Collect)**