Sunday Readings: Acts 10.25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John4.7-10; John 15.9-17
“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15.12-13
Jesus refers to his closest followers not only as disciples but as friends, freely chosen companions who mutually love one another and share their lives. He demonstrates God’s love and friendship for the whole world. Jesus embodies God’s inclusive love as he share meals with people, heals them, stands up for them, and teaches them his way. He lays down his life daily for his friends as well as ultimately in his love for us unto death.
Liberation theologians have a term for laying down one’s life—accompanar. I read a recent quotation about being a mother. “One becomes the noun by doing the verb.” One becomes a mother by mothering. One becomes a follower of Jesus by living his way. Accompaniment brings us into the daily lives of one’s family, neighbors, teachers, coaches, workers, believers in God and justice.
Friendship is the most inclusive way we love. Friendship is mutual and reciprocal. It stretches us beyond our most intimate relationships and links us in circles beyond family. Friendship joins us side by side through our ups and downs. A friend is an equal, capable of returning love for love, of treasuring the gift each is to the other, sharing laughs, sharing pain. All our days, the Spirit accompanies us in success and failure. Responding to the Spirit’s nudges to love and care, to deal with regrets, to rebound from failure, we widen the circles that hold the world together.
Who do you accompany? How? With whom besides family do you share meals? How do these meals strengthen friendships?