Fifth Sunday of Easter
The pursuit of glory, fame, honor, praise, power, and distinction is the goal for many of us. We were not born with these ambitions. They are taught. Yes, many of us want to do “good,” help others, improve our neighborhood, support family, make our parents proud, or be an asset to our community. However, we are motivated to achieve. Wealth and materialism become a measure of one’s glory. Jesus challenges us to place our personal glory second to his glory.
The text in John takes us back to a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. Jesus’ public ministry is ending, the betrayer is on task, and abandonment by those closest to him are soon to come. In this setting Jesus chooses to bring his disciples closer, calling them little children. He gives voice to his heart: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you. . . . By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The disciples had visions of glory for themselves and the great things they would do for people under Jesus’ leadership. The disciples did not know it then, but they too would face betrayal, rejection, persecution. The only person to hold them together and reframe their understanding of true glory was Jesus.
Jesus called his followers to start a new movement based on love. They needed to be transformed from the mind to the heart, so that Jesus is glorified. The disciples needed to learn to love as Jesus loved; serve as Jesus served; live in community and expand the community as Jesus had shown them to live. We also need a “new” lesson on how to love each other and bring glory to Jesus’ name. We are the hands, feet, eyes, and heart of Jesus. May others see in us the love of Jesus and give him the glory.
Mark V. Breland Sr., pastor, Lititz Moravian Congregation