Thursday, April 5, 2012

taste of wine

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Psalm 116:1, 10-17 

Once when I was looking for an apartment in Brooklyn a friend introduced me to her landlord. He showed me the apartment, above his own family’s apartment, and then we all gathered for tea. They handed me a chocolate – it had a symbol on it. You don’t have to eat it, they said. It had no sugar! It was special candy for a special day in the Jewish year.

What day does the taste of bread and wine bring back to us?

The feast of the Lord’s Supper – the Last Supper – that Jesus took with his friends – gathered in an upstairs room for Passover night. The bitter herbs they tasted, and the other flavors, reminded them as Jews of an earlier meal: as it was meant to. It reminded them that the people of Israel freed from bondage in Egypt were called out: into a period of seeking and formation in the desert, while they learned what it meant to be God’s people – before they could enter the land and possess it, the land of promise, they had to become the people of promise, the people of hope. They had to learn and to practice what it meant to live God’s love – to love God whole-heartedly body and soul first and foremost, and to love their neighbors as themselves. They had to become the people who love.

Jesus renews this understanding and adds to it in the gospel passage we’ve read tonight: love one another as I have loved you. That is how they will know who you are. That is how they will know you are God’s people.

How has he loved us? Totally and completely. He has given his life that we might live in God. He has held nothing back.

As Robert J. Allen asks,
            Whoever ran out of love
            by loving too much?

            The more love you give,
            the more love you receive, and
            the more love you have to share.

Christ gave himself away completely, out of love – love for a world he knew needed changing – and through love comes change. (Sue Yeaney)

He was not afraid of change,
he was unafraid of death,
he had hope for the future
and trust in God.

[If he feared anything ever it was that he would fail to receive, falter in his love or his giving; but he did not fail.] He accepted on his shoulders the weight of the cross that he bore for all.

Innocent victim, unqualified scapegoat, he brought to an end the idea you could tag another person with your guilt or sin or suffering. He took all that on himself and removed it from us.

On this dark night,
there is nothing left to fear
but fear itself.

There is one source left for hope,
there is only one source
                                    of life,
                                    of light,
                                    of love, —

and it is the one in whom we find salvation,
the one we remember tonight: Jesus Christ the Lord.


Remember Love

                                    Do not be afraid
                                                to Change
Change for Love’s sake
Remember what lasts is love.

O Christ, we live in a world filled with suffering and death, but you call us to follow you and serve you. May your abundant mercy open our eyes to new ways we can create hope and opportunity for hungry people. Amen

(Lenten Prayers for Hungry People, Bread for the World,


Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 John 4:15-21)

Be a Constant Source of Change
by Robert J. Allen
(Camaldolese Tidings, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2012, New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur, California)

     Why do people fear change? Because, as human beings, we are too attached.
     There are many different fears: the fear of death, which is inevitable; the fear of success, which is to be who we are capable of being; and the fear of public speaking, which means we are willing to share openly ... but I propose that most people think they fear change and do not want to change because they fear success. Notice I have not said they do not want change, but that they do not want to change.
     Change comes in all walks of life. We do not start out this way, but we are taught first by our parents, by example, then our friends, by associates, and then by our own selfishness to keep what we think is ours, thus avoiding change, forcing us right back to the fear of change and not realizing we are attracted to false security.
     Jesus Christ taught us just the opposite in the way He lived; by the things He said, and most of all by His love. If we would make all of our judgments based on "love one another as I have loved you," we would not only accept change, we would change and be a constant source of change.
     Change should only be feared when it is selfish, when it is self-serving, and when it leads or prevents real change. You cannot fear change unless you lack the virtue of Hope.
     In order to understand who you are, you should begin with the principle that all we have is a gift from God. This being true, then the only thing to fear is the inability to give to others by sharing, by making sacrifices, by loving. And to do this, to do it in an accountable and opportunistic way, means giving of yourself without an expected reward. This means change. Whoever ran out of love by loving too much? The more love you give the more love you receive, and the more love you have to share. The unexpected rewards are immeasurable.
     Christ came to change the world and He did this by giving Himself away totally so that each person could change. We will be judged not by how much we have, but how much we gave away; both materially and through love.
     Do not fear change, but fear the false security, that being neither hot nor cold, will forever be your judge.

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