Today’s Scripture: John 13:34-35

34 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NRSV)
“It’s so easy to laugh. It’s so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.”  – Steven Patrick Morrissey

The above quote is from a song by the 1980s band The Smiths. It was taped to the inside of my closet door when I was a teenager (along with pictures of The Cure, New Order, and various Far Side cartoons – the assorted flotsam cut from magazines that gave my teenage suburban life meaning). It is a quote I think of often, even today. To me, it is a summary of the message of John 13:34-35.

Artwork by Anne Carrington Hall

Artwork by Anne Carrington Hall

Jesus gives us a new commandment: to love one another. Not only that, but he tells us that he has demonstrated for us how to do this. I think this is because he realized how difficult it can be. Jesus did not experience the exact hurts and frustrations of life in 2014 (talking to Verizon, being stuck in traffic when you’re already late, gossipy moms, my child being dissed by a classmate at school…), but surely he saw how difficult it is for us humans to get along with each other – much less love each other – on a daily basis.

We know that we are supposed to be loving Christians on the macro scale. We do volunteer work; we donate to charity; we go to church. All of this is worthwhile, but it’s the micro, the quotidian, the daily living among other humans where “love each other” becomes difficult. It’s so easy to slip into impatience, anger, sniping, and insecurity. It takes strength that God gives us to love one another on a daily basis. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.