This reading come from the Last Supper : the night before Jesus is crucified. Judas has gone out – to tell the Roman soldiers where Jesus is, so that they can come & arrest him & kill him. Jesus says to his friends ‘I give you a new commandment – a new law’ – this is Jesus’ last chance to say something important to his friends – his last bit of teaching – if they don’t remember anything else he has taught them they should remember this…
‘Love one another’ Just as I have loved you so you should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my friends – that you love’.
You wonder whether the disciples of Jesus thought ‘is that it?’.
But of course that one word love is the most important thing in our world, the hardest thing, sometimes to do, the highest demand Jesus can place on us.
Love. It’s easy to love Astrid & Hannah – Kirsty & Jochen might like to tell us how lovable they are – specially when they’re teething, or at 3am in the morning! But all joking aside, children are easy to love, most of the time. But adults – they can be hard – the people who get on our nerves, the ones who have a go at us, the ones with bad habits, or who are ill-mannered. The unlovable, the unlovely, the unloving… Jesus says love them all.
But he also says ‘as I have loved you, so you should love one another’. We learn the sort of love we need from God’s love for us – a love that is there before we are born until the moment we die – and beyond. A love that never fails us, never gives up on us – a love that never ends.
We are here to celebrate that love of God for Astrid & Hannah today – and to remember that that love is there for each one of us. And when we know how loved we are. We are ready to accept Jesus challenge to us – to love one another.
May God love us and bless us and help us to be loving in Jesus’ name. Amen.