With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Making the sign of the cross, I say,
O God, I am marked by your name. May all who see me today know that you are my God and give glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I invite my Lord,
Jesus, in you I know what love looks like. “To lay down your life” is the standard of love you have established. I am grateful for your grace. I am in awe of your love. Grow me in my love for others. Amen.
My God, why am I jealous of others when they have what I want? I compare and compete. I treat friends as rivals, neighbors as competitors. I am discontent with my lot in life and desiring of theirs. Free me from rampant selfishness. Forgive my jealous eyes. Inspire in me celebration for my brother and sister. You have given me the best things in my life. I want your best for them. No rivalry or conceit, only love.
Word: John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”
So what is the fruit that Jesus wants you to produce? He says in John 15:10, “If you keep my commandments . . .” Keeping his commandments is being fruitful. OK, what are his commandments? Now Jesus gets very explicit. This is his command. This is fruit:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 15:12)
Grapevines are for grapes. Trees are for fruit. Christians are “for others.” To love others as Christ has loved us.
Before you think that “love one another” is a lame Hallmark card, remember, when Jesus uses the word “love” he’s not talking about a silly pop song. He doesn’t mean something flimsy or fluffy. Look how he qualifies the word love: “As I have loved you.” “. . . that someone lays down his life . . .”
We know this standard. Jesus defined love by sacrifice. This is cross-born love. Selfless giving. This is “put your life on the line” love. It’s gritty and bloody.
It’s just like the one-way directional flow of a plant to fruit. This is one-way love. It’s oriented toward “the other.” One-way love gives and doesn’t take. It asks for nothing in return. Now you have an idea of the fruit you are to bear. Now, gazing at Jesus, you know what love looks like.
Prayer for Neighbors
- For my immediate geographical neighbors.
- For my community, neighborhood, town/city.
- For people hurting from broken families, addiction, violence, abuse, poverty, sickness.
- For the eyes of the Good Samaritan, to see and help my neighbor in need.
- For old neighbors and longtime friends; for an opportunity to meet new neighbors.
- For the strength to “love my enemies,” and to “love my neighbor as myself.”
- For the courage to be salt and light to those around me, bearing unique witness to God’s presence.
O God, I live among people hungering for something more. Satisfy them with your life and love. The lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” You told a story about a Samaritan who gave selflessly to a stranger. Who isn’t my neighbor? Help me to live like this, in Jesus name. Amen.