I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Judas has left the building - just before Jesus turns to his disciples and says these words.
It is the evening of the last supper. It is the night before he is betrayed.
He washes their feet; says, do this. He breaks bread and pours out wine; says, do this.
And now he says, as I have loved you love one another.
I have been glorified, he says, and I will be glorified again. It has begun: the train of events that led from their last meal together to his words on the cross, "It is finished," as at last it is his body broken and his blood outpoured that are given. At last those precious gifts are shared and how he loves us is truly known.
And now he says, now at this moment in our gospels, as I have loved you love one another.
Wash the feet, break the bread, share the wine. Give over your lives. Stand fast when your companions, all those around you, flee for the hills.
This is not a love as the world knows love. This is not how people conduct themselves. Look around you, at a small group or a large. Is the faculty bickering, fighting over who is really in charge? Is a leader putting himself forward as persecuted, grudging, inviting you to grudge, to persecute, to get your own?
They will look at you, you will look at each other, differently.
And how is this even possible? In Christ - in the context of the Holy Spirit that he will send you. As we seek to be transformed into his likeness.
Conversion is taking responsibility for an area of our own growth and development.
What does it means when we do this individually and together? How do we take responsibility for our own growth and development?
Everything is done differently in the light of Christ's love. Our giving becomes giving in joy, giving of the gifts he has shared with us.
Our stewardship of the earth is caring for what we have received in Christ.
Our kindness to the stranger is welcoming her as we welcome Christ.
Our worship is in his presence. As we pass the bread and share the cup we remember: he is showing his love for us in these gifts, and as we share them and take them in, we remember his words:
This is my body. This is my blood.
We become his people, his body in the world, and he becomes, even more, our God.