In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives the disciples his commandment, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” After eight years here, I hear Calvary’s commandment: that I go out into the world and love as I have been loved here.
At the end of the day, love is grace. Endless, undeserved, unexplainable grace for ourselves and others, for our quirks and mistakes. Grace.
But what I do trust is that we were brought together by the Holy Spirit, whose reconciling work in the world happens through our hopeful and failing selves. The church is one of those rare places in the world where we voluntarily enter a room with people we just don’t get. You sit down by strangers and hear that those who do not love do not know God, and sometimes you you feel deeply the implications of such a belief — you fearfully declare it the Word of the Lord. You look around the room and wonder if you’re up to the work. You look inside yourself and find a heart capable but not always willing, itself a maze of excuses and excesses and anxieties that keep you from knowing your true self — the one beloved and redeemed by God.
Throughout this past year and in the time going forward, it means everything to know that the Lord is with us, and that his rod and staff comfort us. We are called to share this comfort with one another, to help each other find and go down the right paths, to wipe away one another’s tears.
So, what if Easter is about letting go of some of our concrete expectations and understandings, and learning to see deeper connections and patterns and meanings, the timeless way, a quality without a name in our faith beneath its familiar forms?