April 9, 2020 by Vicki Williams
After our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service last year, Pastor Bob Huisman had us each take a paper star from one of the offering plates as we left the sanctuary. On that star was a word, and Pastor Bob wanted us to make that our word for the year. We had no idea what word we might end up with, so I was hoping for something significant and thought provoking like………influence, ambience, or excellence.
But, mine said “love”. Love? Well…that seemed like a boring word to me. After all, we’ve been taught about love since we were little. We’ve been told that God is love, that we are to love one another, etc., etc. We see parents love their children. We’ve seen people fall in love and out of love. We’ve experienced what claims to be love, but isn’t. Love is a part of our everyday living. It’s nothing new. Boy, do I wish I had picked a more exciting word!
I’ll admit that I didn’t keep track of my star at first, but it kept showing up. You know how some things have a way of doing that when you really wish they wouldn’t? I didn’t really feel right about crumpling it up and throwing it away, because, after all, it was kind of an assignment from Pastor Bob, and if he asked me how I was doing with my word, I knew I’d have to tell him the truth!
But, then I remembered something that Roann Lau would often say to me. (For those of you who didn’t know Roann, she was a friend to many of us at Heritage and was also one of our worship team members for years. She went home to be with Jesus a little over a year ago.) When a challenge came up, or she wasn’t sure what to do about something, she would often say, “I wonder what God’s trying to teach me with this.” So, I decided to ask the same thing. I asked God what He was really trying to teach me with this word. I asked Him to teach me about love in new ways and to teach me through everyday things. I also asked Him to teach me about His love for me.
This week is Holy week, and today is Maundy Thursday, the day before Jesus’ crucifixion. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means commandment. After Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples and washed their feet, He said, “Now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 14:34,35)
The concept of loving each other wasn’t something new. Leviticus 19:18 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But in John 14, Jesus commands us to love others just as He has loved us, and this kind of love is grounded in humility, service, and sacrifice. This kind of love requires that we live as an example of Jesus Himself because this kind of love has the power to change lives and bring people into a living relationship with Him. This isn’t love that is based on an emotion. It’s love that’s based on action. What better example of love in action is there than Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross?!
As I thought further on the word “love”, I realized that I have a very long way to go in grasping “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-18).
As sinful human beings, it’s impossible for us to fully comprehend this type of love, and all too often, we’ve experienced a type of love in this world that makes it even harder to understand the perfect love of Jesus. However, as you focus on these last days of Holy Week, take time to sit at the cross and think about the kind of love that Jesus has for you. A kind of love that washes feet, that gives without receiving, that is willing to get into the hard parts of life without seeking a reward, and that is absolutely, positively, without end. If you have not accepted that love, sit at the feet of Jesus, focus on the love that held Him to the cross, and ask Him to fill you with that love today.