Reflection on John 15:9-17 Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day and Rogation Sunday) 9 May 2021
Gospel of John 15:9-17: Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
The Gospel is so appropriate for this Sunday as it is Mother’s Day. A day where we show appreciation to our mothers for all the love they gave us and still do even though they may not be with us.
Let us offer a Mother’s Day prayer: Dear Lord, Bless every mother and every grandmother with the finest of your spiritual blessings today. Confirm in her heart and spirit the work of her hands and the love that she has so freely given to those children under Your care. Validate her worth daily so she has no reason to doubt whether she is loved, valued, and cherished in the eyes of her Heavenly Father. This we pray in your Name Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
This Sunday’s Gospel is about Love and the joy. What joy do you give to others? What is joy for you? The gift of joy has to be given and then received and it will work both ways for the recipient and for you. The joy we give and receive comes from God and stays with us. This passage is a continuation of last week’s Gospel and it follows Jesus’ words explaining the divine-human relationship as akin to vinegrower-vine-branches where the vinegrower becomes the vine to connect and nourish the branches. Here he continues to expound upon the theme of abiding and fruitfulness but shifts more explicitly to name love as the connecting agent. Love is the most difficult thing, but it is also the most necessary thing. Love is the antidote to human shortcomings. Love is a commitment to consistently put another person’s wellbeing and happiness before your own. It’s the love a spouse has for another when they put the other’s needs or desires before their own. It’s the love that overlooks another’s faults and focuses on their endearing qualities. It is the love parents have for their children when they play with a child even though they are too tired to move. It is the willingness to lay down one’s life for another to protect that person from pain. True love is hard. It is demanding. It requires virtue and brings out the best in all involved in the love relationship. To be able to withstand difficulties and disruptions, we must love one another–and remember what love looks like. The gospel today is a vision and mission statement of Jesus. It highlights the love of Jesus for us, his call, and his hope that we will bear fruit. When Jesus said, “It is not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” He picked me! He picked you! How do we bear fruit that will remain? We are destined to bear fruit. The call of Jesus is to share in the salvation of the world, in making the world a better place to live in for everyone. The follower of Jesus is committed to care of the earth and care for others. Love for the earth and love of each and all is fruit that will last.
This Sunday is also Rogation Sunday. A time when God’s love for the world is shown. A prayer for Rogation Day is a prayer of Thanksgiving from the book of common Prayer page 836.
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.