This is my commandment

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I officiated at a wedding yesterday evening, where the couple chose John 15:9-12 as the Gospel reading.

“This is my commandment,” Jesus says to his disciples after the Last Supper, “that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

This morning, with Katherine and Jack still on my mind, I began Morning Prayer and started to read Psalm 119, which is appointed for today. Psalm 119, as you may know, is a sort of acrostic where each section of the psalm begins with a different letter of the (Hebrew) alphabet and where every verse contains a play on the word “commandment.”

I couldn’t help mentally reframing the Psalm in the light of Jesus’ commandment:

Happy are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the love of the Lord.

Happy are they who observe his love,
and seek him with all their heart.

Who never do any wrong,
but always walk in his love.

You laid down your love,
that we should fully keep it.

Oh, that my ways were made so direct
that I might keep your love! (Psalm 119:1-5 ed.)

I think this kind of love is what the former Pharisee Paul may have had in his mind as he wrote to the Ephesians.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:4-8)

Through baptism, we share in the life that Christ lives in the world, and it is through us that the good news of the free gift of God’s love is communicated to the world. In marriage, we see the couple’s life together as a sign of Christ’s love, and we pray that their mutual affection will overflow in love and concern for others (BCP 429).

May it be so for all of us.

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