Thursday, April 13, 2006
'A new command I give you'
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
-- Jesus, John 13:34-35
Growing up in a small-town Southern Baptist church, I heard *nothing* of the church calendar. I was full grown and living in Texas and attending a United Methodist church when I started learning about such observances, traditions and rituals, and that they can be important markers in the lives of believers.
Tonight, I plan to attend a Tenebrae service. If you feel so inclined, tell me about your Holy Week activities, and how they've changed, if they have, over the years.
Last night and last Wednesday night I played the piano for the last two Lenten "meager meal" gatherings (soup dinners held before the Lenten studies on Wednesday nights.)
This is a tough season on those who participate in services at many churches. But come Sunday afternoon, there will be a lot of people taking long naps after lunch!
Sheesh, ER, I'm disappointed. :-)
Splurge. Go to Cattleman's.
YEAH, when you're too drunk to taste. "Yeah, uh, I'll have a Whatburg (birp) berger with sheece -- Hey, CABBIE, pull up, I can't hear me. I'll have a Whatberge (birp!) with sheece and a large oder of fri (hic) eyes. And do you have Bud Light (snicker, snicker, snicker)"
"Your order comes to 17 dollars and 53 cents, sir."
"Hell, that's cheaper than the ba (hic) rr."
I ain't never had no better burger in the OKC area than Johnnie's, bar none. But I ain't never had a burger (or steak) with compost, so I probably don't know what I'm missing.
AND, Whataburgers remind me of Tejas! I go there when I get "homesick" for the Lone Star State.
I crack myself up.
You doin' OK, ER? Miss visitin' with ya, buddy.
There are three kinds of hamburgers in America that have any value at all.
One is the White Castle type which is greasy ground beef cooked loose with fresh onions and served on small buns--know as "rolls" in Oklahoma.
These are best in winter after you've been walking the street for a while. You eat them six to a dozen at a time. This is a New York and South to Washington D.C. type Burger.
Then there are the flat medium quality greasy meat 3/8ths of an inch thick patties that hang out over the edge of the king size bun. These will always be cooked in Butter. The butter and meat will be just almost charred. The bun will also be toasted on the grill and usually in butter as well. You add dill pickles, red onions, sweet relish, and mustard.
NO lettuce No tomatoes No friggin mayonase. These are often found in a small town cafe, but are seldom seen in a city.
The third and final worthwile American Burger are the ones that have a meat patty of ground sirloine steak, seasoned with dry cajun seasonings. The patties are about an inch thick and the exact size of the bun. They are cook to medium well done, (has to have juice run out if squeezed) , again in butter,
The bun has to be of the heavy variety of bread to hold it all in and toasted on the gill as well. Sweet vidalia onions lightly toasted, thick home made bread and butter pickles, mustard (sometimes honey mustard), 1/8th inch thick bacon burned to the crisp, and Frito's on it as well. (Note that 's Fritos on the burger not with the burger).
Back to Holy Week... I get to read the gospel passage at Good Friday service tomorrow. I feel honored, but it only makes sense, since I am a "professional public speaker".
" 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
Just glancing at it, it looks like the first verse you quote is more of a don't-do-harm" commandment, that is, it's more of a command NOT to do something, when the "new commandment" is a command to *do* something: "love actively."
The second verse you give is something different entirely than the "new commandment." God ain't a fellow disciple.
The third one seems to mean "love those who are not like you."
The "new commandment" then, to me, seems to be an order to the little tiny community of Jesusians to stick together, especially when the going gets rough, which it soon got.
That and $3.72 will get you a vente nonfat one-Splenda latte at Starbucks. :-)
Dr. ER just walked in and saw your question and my answer. She adds, "Spin."
So, there that, too. Gotta consider everything about a verse, not just the words in it.
"Gotta consider everything about a verse, not just the words in it."
You mean like who wrote it? When they wrote it? What came before that inspired them? Why they wrote it? Which love it was refering to?
So why was it new?
Commentary: They are little children who will indeed follow Jesus later (v. 36). As the following chapters will make clear, they first need to receive the Spirit, the Paraclete, to share in the Father's life and love and to accomplish his works, as Jesus himself has done.
The crux of this new quality of life with God is found in the love command: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (vv. 34-35). On one level, there is nothing new about the command to love. While there are different understandings of love, the love command, or ideal, is already known widely in Judaism (for example, Lev 19:18; Rule of the Community 3.13; m. 'Abot 1:12) and the Greco-Roman world (for example, Pliny Natural History 2.17.18; Marcus Aurelius Meditations 7.13, 22; Porphery To Mark 35; cf. Klassen 1992:382-84). But on another level, this love is new in that it is in keeping with Jesus' own love for them. The love of God has now been mediated in a radically new way, through the incarnation. And the possibility of sharing in that divine love now becomes possible in a manner and to a degree unlike anything up to this point. The disciples are called to enter into the relation of love that exists between the Father and the Son (10:18; 12:49-50; 14:31; 15:10; cf. Barrett 1978:452). This love also is not new; it has existed from all eternity. But it has not been manifested or made available until the incarnation. Such love is the fruit of the disciples' union with Jesus and, in Jesus, with the Father (cf. chap. 15). The disciple, therefore, is one who is characterized by love, which is the laying down of life. The disciple, like the Master, reveals the Father.
This love command focuses on relations within the new community rather than toward outsiders, a focus that has led many to view John as a narrow sectarian with no concern for outsiders. Such a view, however, misses the larger picture. John is quite clear that this divine love, in which the disciples are to share, is for the whole world (3:16; 4:42; 17:9). Indeed, their love for one another is part of God's missionary strategy, for such love is an essential part of the unity they are to share with one another and with God; it is by this oneness of the disciples in the Father and the Son that the world will believe that the Father sent the Son (17:21). Jesus' attention here in the farewell discourse, as well as John's attention in his epistles, is on the crucial stage of promoting the love between disciples. The community is to continue to manifest God as Jesus has done, thereby shining as a light that continues to bring salvation and condemnation (cf. chaps. 15--16). Without this love their message of what God has done in Christ would be hollow.
John was known in the ancient church for his concern for love. Jerome tells of John in his extreme old age saying, whenever he was carried into the assembly, "Little children, love one another."
When his disciples got tired of this, they asked, "Master, why do you always say this?"
"It is the Lord's command. If this alone be done, it is enough" (Jerome Commentary on Galatians at Gal 6:10).
The story of John and the conversion, fall and restoration of a brigand (Clement of Alexandria Who Is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved? 42 par. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.23.5-19) is another beautiful story that illustrates the love revealed in this Gospel. For when John finds this fallen Christian he entreats him to repent, saying, "If it must be, I will willingly suffer your death, as the Lord suffered for us; for your life, I will give my own."
In the earliest centuries of the church divine love was indeed the hallmark of the community of Jesus (for example Ignatius of Antioch Letter to the Ephesians 4.1; Justin Martyr 1 Apology 1.16; Minucius Felix Octavius 9). Tertullian reports that the pagans said of the Christians, "See, they say, how they love one another . . . how they are ready even to die for one another" (Apology 39). E. R. Dodds (not to be confused with C. H. Dodd), himself not a Christian (Dodds 1965:5), thinks that the genuine love and unity among Christians was "a major cause, perhaps the strongest single cause, of the spread of Christianity" (Dodds 1965:138). "Love of one's neighbour is not an exclusively Christian virtue, but in our period [from the second century A.D. to Constantine, early in the third century] the Christians appear to have practised it much more effectively than any other group" (Dodds 1965:136-37).
Such cohesiveness is part of what made Christianity attractive to Constantine, for he saw that it would help unify the empire. Before Constantine, when one became a Christian there was no question but that a death to self was involved in being a Christian. But this changed after Constantine, and so it is not surprising to find Chrysostom, preaching in the fourth and early fifth century, chastising his congregation for their lack of love. In contrast to the earlier age, he now must say, "There is nothing else that causes the Greeks [that is, the non-Christians] to stumble, except that there is no love. . . . We, we are the cause of their remaining in their error. Their own doctrines they have long condemned, and in like manner they admire ours, but they are hindered by our mode of life" (In John 72.5). In parts of the world today the church continues to be the greatest obstacle to people's coming to believe that the Son has come into the world, sent from the Father.
The love that Jesus is speaking of is not simply a feeling. One cannot really command a feeling. It is willing and doing the best for the other person (1 Jn 3:11-18). Since God's will alone is that which is truly good in any situation, love acts in obedience to God's will, under the guidance of the Spirit. Jesus has revealed such a life--only doing what he sees the Father doing and only speaking what he hears from the Father. The same pattern is to be true of the disciple, because "whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). Feelings of compassion and concern will be present as the disciple more and more perfectly shares in God's own love for those around him or her, but such feelings are not the source nor the evidence for this love that Jesus demands of his followers (cf. 15:1-17).
To all of this, I have only one critisim: Jonestown.
Buried in it is this, which is pretty much what I said:
"This love command focuses on relations within the new community rather than toward outsiders ..."
After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened
22 and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
It is only after His baptism that Christ's ministry began.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Whether the voice from heaven announces Jesus' diety to Jesus Himself or to the crowd depends on which writer of the Gospel you read. In either case, Jesus absolutely knew then who He was. And it was not Jim Jones.
Outline shared character traits between Jim Jones and Jesus, then."
Don't tempt me.
Another example: Koresh.
I did like the note in the commentary about the "love" being lost after Constantine.
Trixie is correct in the fact that Shehenna in the form of a dove brought God's truth about his true self to Jesus. His future was reveal in installments over time however.
I'm off to buy a statue of Hebe for my Butterfly Garden. By the way ER, I've planted Indian cotton, green fiber cotton, and brown fiber cotton this year. The Brown fiber was Slave Shirt Brown cotton.
Happy Easter, ER and everyone!