Show us Love
Monday, March 31, 2008 -- Week of 2 Easter
(St. Joseph, transferred from March 19)
Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, page 959)
Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) 4, 7 (evening)
1 Peter 1:1-12
Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."
What level of proof will satisfy our questioning hearts? Last week one of our readings was a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus at the end of Matthew's gospel. The eleven disciples are in Galilee, at the mountain that Jesus had told them to go to, where he would show himself to them. The resurrected Jesus appears to them. Matthew writes, "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted." Even at the resurrection, there is doubt among the closest of Jesus' followers.
Had Jesus answered Philip directly and in some direct way showed them the Father, would they have been satisfied? Jesus invites them to look at him. His words and his deeds, he says, are enough. They show that the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. Maybe that's too hard, Jesus says. Then forget about me, just look at the deeds. They are good deeds. Deeds of love. His actions have been those that heal and connect people, acts that have congruence and compassion. Isn't that enough? When you see good deeds like that, you are seeing the works of the Father, the works of God. Isn't that enough?
So, to make sure they get the drift, the teacher goes on to make the main thing the main thing. Love. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." In the next chapter he will make it even more explicit. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." It's all about love.
Show us the Father? Jesus shows them love. Himself as love incarnate. The deeds that he does, which are the deeds of love. If you want to look for God, look anywhere that love is manifest. Jesus invites them to ask God for anything "in my name." To ask in Jesus' name, is to ask in the Spirit of love. "If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it," he promises.
Jesus has told them to abide in love. He promises to send "another Advocate" (or "Helper") who will be with us. The Spirit. The Spirit will do the same deeds that the Son has done in the Father's name, namely Love. "This is the Spirit of truth." The Spirit will abide with us and be in us, Jesus says.
So when we abide in love and love abides in us, when we love one another, we have been shown God, and can rest satisfied. Wherever love is, there is God. And when we look around this earth, we see love manifest everywhere. In all times and all places, in all cultures and in all religions. Whenever we see love, we are being shown God.
As Dame Julian said so eloquently in her Divine Revelations: "Wouldst thou learn thy Lord’s meaning in this thing? Learn it well: Love was His meaning. Who shewed it thee? Love. What shewed He thee? Love. Wherefore shewed it He? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. But thou shalt never know nor learn therein other thing without end. Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning."
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About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.
Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html
The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.
Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org
Our Rule of Life
Lowell Grisham, Rector