Everybody act medium

John 13:31-35

Sunday Sermon

The Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Thoeni
Rector

May 19, 2019

There was once a group of neighborhood boys who decided, like boys are often wont to do, that they should form a club. One boy volunteered his treehouse for their meeting place. 
They gathered there one spring afternoon and began discussing their club. Of course, every club needs rules and so they spent a good deal of time discussing the rules.  Finally after many distractions and diversions they settled on their rules.  
They found a piece of board and wrote down the rules and nailed it to the wall by the entrance to the treehouse.
There were just three rules:
Nobody act big.
Nobody act small.
Everybody act medium.
This morning we have heard somewhat the same type of dynamics in our Gospel reading.  At the Last Supper Jesus spends a great deal of time teaching his disciples.  
Jesus even gives them a rule.  In fact, he calls it a commandment.It is interesting to note that this is the only specific commandment ever given by Jesus.  
“I give you a new commandment,” Jesus tells them, “that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
This love that Jesus commands us to have is not about affection.  It is not about warm, cozy feelings.  It is about the active and willful seeking of each others' best.  
Perhaps the most beautiful verses about love ever penned are from the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians.  
There Paul tells us beautifully what love is, what it looks like, how love is and isn’t practiced.
Let me given a very down-to-earth summary of what Paul teaches us about love in those verses.  
If we are to love one another as Jesus commanded us and as Paul described we are to:
Practice patience.
Be useful.
Don’t be jealous. 
Don’t be arrogant.
Don’t be a jerk.
Don’t be bossy.
Don’t carry a grudge
Don’t throw tantrums.
We are to despise lies and honor what is true and in all things we are to endure, trust, expect and persevere because, as Paul so wonderfully tells us: 
There is no end to love.
The command to love each other is costly and demanding.  But it is not impossible.  It takes work and it takes purposeful choosing to live graciously and patiently with each other.
Jesus commanded us to love one another.  He even tells us, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Paul beautifully and poetically captured what that means.
But perhaps those boys summarized it perfectly in their clubhouse,
Nobody act big.
Nobody act small.
Everybody act medium.


©2019, Tom Thoeni