How Have I Been Loved? (A Guiding Question for Practice)

A&P_webbannerAt Sunday's Gathering, we finished our Anchors & Propellers Series with a teaching on John 13:34-35. In John 13, Jesus invites his disciples to follow a new command to love each other. What's new about this is that nowhere does Jesus connect this command to the obligatory fulfillment of Jewish legal tradition or the sense that faithfulness to God is about checking off items on a divine to-do list. Jesus' command is rooted not as an obligation but as a response.

As I have loved you, love one another.

Jesus tells his disciples that he'll be leaving them soon - predicting again his quickly-approaching arrest and crucifixion. No longer will they be identified as followers of Jesus simply by walking around and sharing a table with him. Instead, they'll be identified as living life in the Way of Jesus because of the similar love that's shared within the family that's been crafted through following Jesus together.

If we are to live life in the Way of Jesus, this new command is for us as much as it was for the disciples Jesus spoke these words to.

As I have loved you, love one another.

Our first step, then, is to be clear on this question:

How Have I Been Loved?

How have you experienced the love of Jesus? What has it felt like? How has it reached your heart and your hands? How has it entered into your story and shaped your life trajectory?

This is a question worth asking, and a question that's worth asking through a variety of practices. This week, consider asking How Have I Been Loved? in a few active and intentional ways.

Contemplate the words of Scripture:

Read John 13. Read 1 John 4. Read 1 Corinthians 13.

How is the Spirit getting your attention through these passages? What will you do about it?

Practice Listening Prayer:

In a space of stillness and silence, ask God to bring to mind different ways you've experienced the love of God, the closeness of the Spirit, the intrigue of Jesus.

And then wait. And listen. Trust that God will speak.

Create:

Meditate on the ways you see the extravagant love of God when you look back on your story and look out to the world.

And then write. Draw. Paint. Photograph. Design. Carve. Script. Weave. Plant.

Consider how your creative act is a response to the creativity of our loving God.

Jesus invites us into the beautiful rhythm of a rooted, woven, extending and cultivating life. His invitation is rooted in a response to the love we've experienced, which is the source of the love we're called to extend into the world.

Thoughts? Stories? Questions? Ideas?