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Sermon for Thursday after Easter 5A – Br. David Allen

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Here is my sermon preached this morning at the Monastery.  The theme of today’s sermon developed as I used the portion of Abp. William Temple’s “Readings in Saint John’s Gospel” with his reflections on the part of John 15:9-12, and related verses for my “Lectio Divina” (Daily Meditations) over the past two weeks after I had seen that I was scheduled to preach on this date.  I found much inspiration and spiritual value in that reading, and my own reflections on it.    This morning even though it was too late to try to incorporate it I was very much taken with Abp. Temple’s suggestion that joy is the condition or state of the soul that is filled with love; as joy comes next after love in Paul’s listing of fruits of the Spirit as, e.g. we see them listed in Galatians 5:22.

– David Allen, SSJE

Jn 15:9-11

Today’s Gospel Reading comes immediately after Jesus’ parable of the Vine and the Branches.  The meaning of the parable carries forward wherever the word “abide” appears.

If we read through the 3 verses of our Gospel we can see how each verse builds on the one before.  (Jn 15:9-11)

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” (v,9)

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments andabide in his love.” (v.10)

Jesus adds one further expansion to this, saying, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be complete.” (v.11)

The word “abide” means to “dwell”, to sojourn, or to wait patiently. Jesus is telling us that when we accept his love, and that of God the Father, we are living clothed in love, surrounded by the Spirit of God’s love. As the branches draw life from the vine we draw life and love from God’s love.

In this Gospel Reading Jesus tells us,  “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.” In these words he shows us how to abide in his love.  It is by keeping his commandments.  If you ask, “Which Commandment?” the answer is given in the next sentence, just beyond the end of today’s Gospel reading; “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (v.12)

Keeping the commandment means obeying the commandment. In loving God and loving one another our obedience rounds out the full meaning of the word love. We do this in loving relationship with one another within the whole body of Christ.

True obedience includes “listening to” and “being attentive to” the needs and desires both of those who are loved and the one to whom obedience is given.

If you have ever been in love, or experienced love, I think you can begin to see how each of us as we try to do our part to abide in God’s love can find our joy becoming complete.  Isn’t that what Jesus meant?

 

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