Jesus said to his disciples, 'Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, "Where I am going, you cannot come." I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.'
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
During lock-down I have certainly watched more television than usual, and I have noticed the use of the word "I". On programmes like 'Grand Design' or 'Homes under the hammer' (we can all dream of a modern, beautiful home!), couples are interviewed about the work on their house. I noticed the word "we" is rarely if ever used. Those interviewed nearly always say what they want as an individual. Now alright there may be discussion in the background between the couple, and one speaks for the other, but all too often what comes over is one person demanding what they, and they alone, want.
This attitude can even occur when we find a person to love. We rarely love another person completely selflessly. Subconsciously we realise that a loving relationship will bring great rewards for us, and the attitude of "I'm worth it" might prevail. Perhaps we may not wish to live alone; we may want children; or we may think it's the way to save money. It is our own happiness we're really thinking about. Now compare this to Jesus' idea of selfless love. He was to give his life for those he loved - for his disciples, and indeed for all of us. His command to his disciples and to us, is that we love one another. The hidden command must be, 'as I have loved you'.
help us to be honest with ourselves,
about loving other people.
May we recognize that we need
to work harder to love those
we find difficult;
and that often we love ourselves
far too much.
Forgive us our self-concern,
and our selfishness.
Look at what St Paul says about love:
You might like to listen to these two hymns on love. The first is the traditional hymn, 'And can it be', sung by a 200 strong choir in St Andrew's Kirk, Chennai, in India. The second is the modern song, 'How great the Father's love', sung by Nicole Nordeman accompanied by some searing pictures.