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Love one another

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" I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."

  • I hate this situation - a famous, even central passage among the readings
  • It is much easier to preach on one of the other lessons
  • Now I have to come up with a way to make you think again about this, and there have been lots of very skillful preachers working on this for years!
  • So why did I not just do something else?
  • Because it is simply too important to ignore

The Visit of the Old Lady

    • The Vist of the Old Lady - Friedrick Durrenmatt
    • Set in the town of Guellen, somewhere in Europe
      • Trains go through 
    • The Flying Dutchman stops
      • Claire Zachnassian
    • Anton - a respectable townsman, seduced her years ago
      • Abandoned her, became a prostitute - married a millionaire
      • Now comes for revenge with a coffin

Kill him, and I will make the town rich

["The world made me into a whore; now I will make the world a whorehouse"]

Bit by bit, the town buys into it, including his own family

Finally, he is killed - the doctor says "Heart attack"

The mayor says "He died of joy"

The trains stop, and the town is happy

Sisters of St. Agnes

  • Sr Rene is a CSA nun ( Community of St. Agnes)
  • The founding mother was Sr. Agnes - founded in Wisconsin
  • details +++
  • There was a Sister in the early years who was Sr. Agnes' best friend and confidant
    • Spread some kind of rumors about her
    • Ecclesiastical court trial
  • Agnes was exonerated, and the other nun was expelled
  • Years later, this same woman asked to be readmitted to the order
    • Sr. Agnes agreed, but changed her professed name and moved her to a different community so that no one would know of the history
    • Although they have many of Sr. Agnes' papers and letters, no one knows what the rumors were about.


    • A glaring contrast in the handling of two injustices
      • I deliberately chose a fictional one for the negative one
      • I have scores of true ones that I cannot tell
      • Good life stories are not as easy to come by, especially at the jail
    • Important to look at where we are in the Gospel
      • The request by the Gentiles
      • The Footwashing and the Last Supper
      • Judas has just left
  • "Now is the Son of Man glorified" - tenses are shifting
  • Farewell Discourses
    •  Glorified
        • Better phrased for us
      • Little children
    • Where I am going - different than when he spoke to the Jews
  • Did not say, as he did to the Jews, "you will not find me"
    • The disciples will find him, but not immediately
  • Love one another - not new
    • Love your neighbor as yourself- Lev.19:18
    • Not even as Jesus redefined neighbor in Luke 10:29-37
  • But "As I have loved you!!"
  • John 15.13

Flesh it out

    • Do you think that the death of Jesus was an accident? A unpleasant happenstance?
      • The Romans didn't care, for the most part, about Jesus' activities
      • They were even distantly interested in what He was saying
      • The Pharisees really had to work to get them interested and have Him condemned
    • Remember who the Pharisees were
      • They were "good people"
      • They were the townspeople in Durrenmatt's play
      • They were the German Christians when Hitler came to power before WWII
      • I won't go any further
    • Jesus asks us to heed his new commandment as a new way of life
      • Not seeking revenge, redress, justice
      • Not even the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
    • Could almost rewrite the Golden Rule to "Do unto others as no one expects to be done unto, because it is too good to hope for"
    • Paul put it very succintly: "But God proves his love for us in that while we still sinners Christ died for us." (Rom. 5.8)
        • You already knew that, didn't you?
    • Here's the kicker - Jesus did not intend for his sacrifice to be a spectacular marvel to be admired from a distance
    • He expected his disciples to imitate him in the role of the Suffering Servant for the sake of others
      • That is the way Paul and the other apostles saw it as well
    • That is too hard - too much to ask!
    • It is too hard, especially if you try to do it by yourself
      • That is why he sent the Holy Spirit, and why we need the church
        • We cannot do it alone
    • How can we expect people to be willing to do that?
    • Consider this:
      • No one thinks a thing of it when someone goes off to the jungles and the bugs and diseases in the Peace Corps
      • No one is suprised when sevicemen die for each other in combat
      • Even street gangs claim life and death loyalty
    • So let's get going
      • You don't have to go into the jungles or overseas
      • You can do it right here, as they say, in the privacy of your own home


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