HOLY WEEK | 4.5.12
Exodus 12:1-4 [5-10] 11-14
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
I remember attending Christian youth camps as a teenager and singing “They’ll Know We are Christians by our Love.” Of course they will! Christians can love better than anyone, right? At that time I had the idealistic thought that my new found Christian faith would solve every problem, dry every tear, and help me love every person. As time went by, I could see that Christians weren’t necessarily better at loving than anyone else. Some were great at it, but some struggled, and some Christians even betrayed and killed each other. And I struggle along with them.
Perhaps you think I have lost hope, but in fact one of the Scriptures for today helps me have hope in the face of the struggle to love. In the Gospel of John we see Jesus making this statement: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Very idealistic. But wait, let’s look at what happens right before and right after Jesus’ call to love.
We all learn that we need to look at Scripture in its context, and the context of Jesus’ “new commandment” to love one another is this: Judas has set out to betray Jesus just before this statement and Peter is told he will deny Jesus just after this statement. We have grown, perhaps unfairly, to expect Judas to be a terrible person, but Peter is one of Jesus’ closest friends. Peter loves Jesus, and yet turns around and denies Him. Jesus’ exhortation to love one another right beforehand makes Peter’s denial even more shocking.
This is a perfect Scripture for Lent. One important practice during Lent is repentance, and Jesus’ exhortation to his disciples to love one another, seen in the context of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, is both a wonderful and terrible call to repentance.
Adjunct Instructor, School of Religion
You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at: http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf