Through the love that we receive through Christ, we become an embodiment of God’s love in the world by living in love and sharing God’s love with all of creation.
Vicar Andrea Bonneville
Sixth Sunday after Easter, Year B
Text: John 15:9-17
Beloved in Christ, grace and peace to you in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Do you know how loved you are? Created. Claimed. Called. Chosen.
To be an embodiment of God’s steadfast love in this world.
Do you know how worthy you are? Created. Claimed. Called. Chosen.
To proclaim God’s steadfast love to all of creation.
The love that the Triune God has for each and every one of us is at the heart of our Gospel message for today. Abide in my love, Jesus tells us. Rest in the love that has been poured out for you for I have Created. Claimed. Called. Chosen. you to continue in my loving service and care for all.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Jesus’ command to love comes out of the assumption that we have known and experienced what the Triune God’s love can do and continues to do in our very own life.
Love that was present when we were created.Love that was present when we were claimed and called by the Holy Spirt in the waters of our baptism.
Love that is present as we are chosen to bear the lasting fruit of love.
The command to love isn’t as easy as it sounds, and the invitation to abide in God’s love is almost more difficult. Social pressures, shame and guilt, compassion fatigue, you name it.. All make us think that God’s love isn’t enough.
It’s one thing know about God’s love for us, but it’s another thing to live out of the conviction that God’s love is within us. We are all God’s beloved and embodying the image of God’s love is what we are created to do.
Because God incarnate laid down his life for us, his beloved friends, we live through our experience of being transformed by God’s steadfast love for as we become an embodiment of God’s love for all. Love that leads us to lay down our lives for not only our friends, but for all that God has created.
It sounds intimidating, laying down our lives, but we have to remember that Christ laid down his life for the salvation and reconciliation of all creation and we lay down our lives so that people may see the love and grace that has been given to us through Christ.
What if laying down our lives means opening up so that God’s grace can transform us to live out of the love that God has for us, and no longer be held captive to lies that tell us we lack talent, ability, money, or confidence to be an embodied proclamation of God’s love.
What if laying down our lives means challenging the culture of white supremacy and letting go of some of space that we take up and the privilege that we have so that all of God’s creation has the opportunity to flourish in our communities.
What if laying down our lives means stepping out of our comfort zones to hear and authentically listen to perspectives other than ones like our own to help expand our empathy and build more unity and collaboration.
We are capable of laying down our lives because of the love that has been shown to us through Christ, love that casts out fear, so that fear doesn’t have the final say as we live out Jesus’ command to love one another. Laying down our lives in love, care, and service to each other is how we embody Jesus’ command to love. It is how others will see the radiance of God’s love that reflects into our world.
We know that laying down our lives in love is possible because we have witnessed this in community. We have experienced the love of Christ embodied in each other and have experienced this love from being in relationship with each other.
Love that checks in and prays for a friend. Love that tends the gardens for pollinators. Love that cares for their family. Love that shows up when we need it the most and when we least expect it.
We have a first-hand account of being in community and witnessing to the ways that each of us embodies the love of Christ, for each other and for the sake of our communities that we participate in daily.
Of course, this has been challenging as we have been separated for over a year, but even apart we have been the embodiment of God’s love to each other through screens, telephones, emails, cards, and small gatherings. And we’ve had the opportunity to look into our local community and see the ways that people have embodied love in advocating for justice and social change.
And we know that following the command to love should come with the caution label: follow at your own risk, because we know the Holy Spirit will lead us to people and places that challenge us to embody love. At other times our heart will grow weary as we look at the brokenness of the world and wonder if our love is enough to bring healing. We will look and ask, do we really need to love that person?
But this is the beauty of God’s love for if we live out of the transformation that God’s love has in our lives and abide in God’s love, the Holy Spirit will led us and guide us into the places where we can radiate the of the image of God, even when we know what we are doing and even when we don’t know how God is working through us.
Our baptismal identity roots us in the nutritious soil of God’s love so that we can extend our branches as far as they can reach so that we can bear fruit that will last, fruit that will regenerate and share the sweetness of God’s everlasting love.
Do you know how love you are? Created. Claimed. Called. Chosen.
To be an embodiment of God’s love and to live out the love that God has for you.