" 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
* 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."
* 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