Agape

Sunday May 15, 2022 The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Cycle C)

The tie in between today’s readings: The Glory of Love

Psalm 145:8-13,Acts 14:21-27Revelation 21:1-5John 13:31-35

If I had to explain glory, I would say it is the possession of something that’s worthwhile. Glory comes in many forms. We can see it in beauty. We find it in a person’s noble character. We celebrate it in top athletics or in great achievements. In this world, we recognize glory with awards, parades, and praise. We are so enamored with glory we will pay scads of money just to touch it: a famous artifact, or an autograph for instance. Love in a way, is a connection to glory. Be it looks, likes, or loot, we join to something because we see value. That’s why it’s so hard to love the wretched…no glory. So, glory attracts love; human love that is. Who do you love when you are God and your glory fills the universe? There’s no one that impresses you and there’s nothing you need. Where does your love and glory plug in then? Apparently, when you’re God, you love the unlovely. You love your enemies, even a fallen mankind. It’s a special love only the Almighty has. It’s called agape love and our Lord offers it to us.

In today’s gospel reading, John 12:31-35, it’s the Last Supper and Jesus is about to enter His Passion and start the final stage in operation: “For God So Loved the World”. He talks about the Son and the Father glorifying each other by His crucifixion. Then He bewilders the disciples even more when out of the blue He throws a “new” commandment at them: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The command to love your neighbor is not new (Leviticus 19:18). What makes it new is how we are to love: as Jesus loves. It’s a new application of the glory-love connection. We are to love the unlovable as God in Jesus loves us. When we become born again, God fills us with His Holy Spirit of love just as a hand fills a glove. The glove is the covering. The strength is in the hand. This new commandment is a genuine manifestation of God’s love through our lives, not a man’s weak compliance to a divine directive. God in us can show His love through us so that people around us will glorify God by us. Let your light shine before men so that they can see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). In God’s case, then love generates glory. This agape love from another dimension is beyond new. It’s revolutionary! It can be ours by faith in Christ.

Where does this new agape love take you? Well, if you’re Paul and Barnabas in Act 14:21-27, it takes you to cities along the eastern Mediterranean Sea to spread the gospel. What do you get for this agape love? Tribulations! Hardly sounds fair, but that’s what loving your enemies is all about isn’t it? Paul told it straight to the newly formed churches in Asia Minor: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). You have to see tribulations as the fire that tempers the steel of your character. By it, you grow the fruit of God’s Spirit in your life and become more like Jesus. Love made Jesus take up His cross. Let us not neglect ours, because looking forward in faith, we can see that after the cross there is glory.

Psalm 145 and Revelation 21, our last two readings, show us the love-glory dynamic. Psalm 145 starts with God’s love toward us by acknowledging His grace, mercy goodness, and loving kindness. We accept God’s love proposal and take Jesus’ claims on us as our Lord and Savior seriously. In doing that, God’s loving nature helps us endure the trials that the church, the bride of Christ, must face. In the end, Revelation 21 tells us that God will wipe away every tear, end death, stop crying, banish pain, and turn mourning into gladness. We become inhabitants of the eternal new heaven and new earth. Where we, as the children of God, will shine like the stars forever (Daniel 12:3). That’s glory my friend.

2 thoughts on “Agape

  1. Brian Andrews

    Andy the time you must put into these mass preps is never in vane. I was just considering how many are blessed by these and may never thank you ,but GOD’s word never returns void, He blesses those who know it and speak it (or write it) Please accept my thanks for those who may not thank you.

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  2. Thanks Brian. Your words are timely and encouraging. I only have five more new essays to write, most likely will take the summer to finish all the cycles, and am starting to look for the best way to gain exposure. Pray for wisdom

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