Love one another
"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34–35
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you." Psalm 89:14
As the disciples gathered with Jesus in the upper room for their last meal together, Jesus announced something startling. One of them will betray him. We know it is Judas, who leaves the dinner party to do the unthinkable: turn his friend over to those seeking to take his friend’s life. But after we learn what Judas will do and Judas leaves, Jesus gives a new commandment to “love one another” — to love no matter what others might do to you. It seems an impossible commandment to see through, doesn’t it? Yet we must. It is not an option, but a mandate. That is why this day in Holy Week is called “Maundy Thursday.” The word maundy is Latin for “mandate.”
Love is a mandate and that love requires reconciliation. And reconciliation requires inward work in order to seek peace and forgiveness. It also requires an action focused on justice and a restitution of wrongs. When two parties are at odds with one another, typically there is a side that needs to forgive the wrong that was done and a side that requires justice of the wrongdoer. Of course, every relationship is unique, yet justice can always be found in the hard work of restoring what was once broken.
Let us walk in the Spirit and be led by our God to bring this justice to a world that so greatly needs it. Loving one another as Christ has loved us is the work that we as believers have been called to do. This is the heart of shalom, and we have a chance to bring love and reconciliation into our own lives and within our own communities.
Dear God, as we work on the restoration of our relationships let us remember Jesus’ words about loving one another. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.