Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend."

In our readings in John 15:9-17 Jesus' use of himself as the model for love, and for commandment keeping, is anchored in daily life. One imagines His encouragement: "You can do this! You can do this because I have done it, and I am here to show you how to do it."

Given the grim stereotypes often applied to Christian faith by outsiders, these words of Jesus effectively combine human action (the fulfilling of his commandments) with a radical human emotion as their effect (joy). Abiding in Jesus the risen Lord. is not a matter of grim-faced respectability or dour commandment keeping−it is a joy, a holy hilarity!

Foremost among these commandments−as His words begin to resonate more clearly – is "that you love one another, as I have loved you." Jesus speaks of "commandments" earlier, but now he speaks of only one: love one another. He extends the depths and extent of this love by saying the greatest expression of love is dying for one's friends. We are not strangers, nor merely disciples, and certainly not just servants: we are friends. The reason he calls us "friends" is that he has shared the riches of all he has with us in terms of His relationship with the Father. "I have made known to you everything."  Here Jesus' offer of the intimacy of friendship is overwhelming. To appropriate Jesus the Risen Lord is to be invited into friendship with God.
Commentary on Gospel by Susan Hedahl


  1. Questions:

    How do you know you are a friend of Christ?

    What is the experience of Christ-friendship?

    My recent discovery: it begins, continues, and is real in silence.

    Will anyone second me on this?

  2. Yes, in silence but also in the faces and places who reflect and nurture it.