What I’m Thinking: Wide Love

Jesus told his disciples that he loved them, and then told them to love one another. It was some time before Peter learned what “one another” actually meant.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel, and about the tenth chapter of Acts of the Apostles.

John 15 (John 15:9-17) is a part of Jesus’ Farewell Speech to the disciples at the Last Supper. I think this might be the tenderest moment of that long address. Jesus told his friends that he loved them. He also made that into a challenge. He asked them – commanded them – to love one another as he had loved them.

In Acts 10 (Acts 10:44-48), Simon Peter was learning about the limits of who it was he was called to love, limits that were considerably more expanded than he thought that they might be. Through a variety of dreams and summonses, Peter had found himself at the home of Cornelius, a Roman, a centurion, even. This was not a household of proselytes, of converts toward the faith of Judaism. No, this was a regular Roman family. But they had had dreams and Peter had had dreams and now they were together. Peter told them about Jesus and about how this was God’s great gift of love and grace to the Earth.

When he had finished speaking the Holy Spirit came and filled all those who had heard Peter speak. “Since they have the Holy Spirit as we have,” said Simon Peter to those who had come with him, “we cannot withhold water for baptism.”

That is, God has shown us that “they” are not “they,” they are us.

This question of who God loves is one that gets explored in nearly every faith on the planet, however that faith understands God. Here in John 15 and in Acts 10 it’s made abundantly clear who God loves, and it’s everyone. Not me – well, yes me – but not just me. You – yes, you – but not just you. God also loves them. Even the foreign them, the scary them, the new we-don’t-know-anything-about-them them. God loves us all.

And therefore, we also ought to love them as Jesus has loved us.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on May 3, 2021

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