It was the night on which Jesus would be betrayed. And yet, He washes His disciples' feet in love, speaks to them in love. He even steps out into the night with them, knowing what would happen to Him shortly, and teaches them about love.
Look at mankind as a whole and see what kind of overwhelming love we can find. There is war, terrorism, murder, violence, rape, abuse, abortion, hate-crimes, arguing, gossip, theft, trickery, insult and slander. To put it bluntly: There is hatred, not love.
Luckily for us, we’re not of the world, right? We’re in the Church. But if we put us church-goers under the microscope, we're just as susceptible to hatred as the world is.
We don’t love the pastor because we don’t like what he does or preaches. We don’t love the musician because we don’t like the songs and hymns that are chosen. We don’t love someone because they have different opinions about how the church should move forward. So we bicker and fight. We make off-hand, snide comments about one another. We murder, slander, and hate one another.
We are supposed to AGAPE love (the perfect divine love Christ has for us) each other at all times. We are to pray, search the Scriptures, hold to our confession, and walk together in repentance, forgiveness, and agape love. But our sinful nature doesn’t allow it.
So what does this mean? Are we doomed to be left behind from where Christ has gone? Even as we don’t and can’t love, Christ does. In agape love, Christ came to this world and poured it out on us.
Christ didn’t deserve to die. We did! Yet, in love He died for us and pours out His loving blessings on us.
By Christ we are no longer loveless hateful beings. We are sheltered in the Church of God, loving one another through all things.
How? The answer is simple, but was bought at a hefty price by God: forgiveness. That is our agape love, that we forgive one another just as God has forgiven us.
With Christ’s spirit empowering us, we forgive. As we suffer insult and injury from the world, we love our enemies. We love one another. We cling to God’s Word. We walk together in love, holding to our confession, forgiving one another, and in peace.
And this love will go on forever, as our Lord takes us to be with Him in love for all eternity, where hatred will be no more. Only love.
The Rev. Logan Landes is assistant pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.