The ‘Love ye’ command: Meditation for the 6th Sunday after trinity
Collect/Prayer For The Day
Lord, You have taught us that whatever we do without love is worth nothing: Send Your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before You; Grant this for the sake of Your only Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Last two weeks, it was “Go ye”, then “Come ye”, last week; and this week, it is “Love ye.” Love is paramount, both in going to the world and staying with the Lord. Love is the Lord’s command (Jn 15:17); the mark of discipleship (Jn 13:35) and a demonstration of divine love (Jn 13:34, 1Jn 4:7-16) and godliness (Matt. 25:31-46). Love is the essence of life such that life without love is not worth it. God called us because He loves us and so that we can experience the love and share it with others. We are, therefore, called to love. Love is the greatest commandment of all virtues. It is the summary of all laws and the reason for our calling.
The Epistle For The Day – 1Jn. 2:8-17
The Epistle begins with presentation of love as a mark of true believer. The command to love was new, not in terms of time, but in terms of quality. Believers are now to love, not as themselves (Lev. 18:19-34), but as Jesus loved them (John 13:34). Jesus is the Light that came into the world. To be in the Light is to love, otherwise, it is darkness. Our Christian calling is to experience the light and love of Christ and radiate same to others. The evidence of the new life in Christ is love. So, not to love is to remain dead and to hate is to murder.
Love is not a matter of “I love you” and other sweet words. God loves much but instead of making noise about it, shows it in action – “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” (Jn 3:16). Love produces selfless, sacrificial giving.
Love is not in words but in works and actions. As James put it, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (Jas 2:15-16). On daily basis, we meet those in need and our help will be required, even sacrificially.
The Golden Rule and its Universality
The minimum we should love others is as ourselves (Matt. 19:19; Mk 12:31). James described it as the Royal Law (Jas 2:8). But it is generally known as the Golden Rule – Treat others, as you would like them to treat you. The negative form (Don’t treat others, as you would not like them to treat you) is also called the Silver Rule.
The golden rule is one rule that has universal application and endorsed by all the great world religions as shown in their sacred books as follows:
Christianity: “In every, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
Confucianism: “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state” (Analects 12:2)
Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” (Udana-Varga 5,1)
Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” (Mahabharata 5,1517)
Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” (Sunnah, 40 Hadith of an-Nawawi 13)
Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” (Talmud, Shabbat 3id)
Taoism: “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss.” (Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien)
Zoroastrianism: “That nature alone is good, which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.” (Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5)
Philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle also upheld the Golden Rule: “Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others.” – Socrates 436-338 BCE
“We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us.” Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org