Scripture Reading: John 17:1-11
‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
Brotherly love meets agape love. Jesus’ concern for those whom you gave me weaves through this scripture. I get a sense Jesus is saying “I am really going to miss these guys—and gals. I have been glorified in them.” Jesus gained value from his interactions with his disciples. The love of God is mutually synergistic. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matthew 18:20)
As Christ’s disciples, we are called to continue melding brotherly love and agape love as we strive to be the Body of Christ in the world today. We close our Congregational Council meeting each month with prayer including updates on member-related issues. Most often this list of concerns relates to health concerns. Someone is in the hospital, someone just moved to assisted living, someone was able to return to church for the first time in two and a half years. Sometimes we celebrate a new birth, and sometimes we mourn the loss of a dear friend.
For Christ’s disciples, the coming together of brotherly love and agape love extends beyond the local congregation. It takes us just down the street to a school where we fill backpacks with food for 14% of the students to take home for the weekend because the school lunch program is believed to be their only source of nourishment. It takes us to the City Rescue Mission where we provide steel-toed boots for job seekers who must have these shoes to work at construction sites where day jobs are available. It takes us to the halls of the state legislature and Congress to help assure that the least of these are not disenfranchised. It takes us to the Dominican Republic where children learn skills that lead to employment removing them from exploitation.
Where does brotherly love and agape love come together for you?
Prayer: God of Love, thank you for the opportunities to share the wealth of your affection with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen