Fruit and Friends: On Visiting in a Church

A dog may be around to share a bite with you…

When considering what I don’t miss about life in the church, visiting hovers near the top of the list. Visiting also has a spot in the top 5 of what I do miss.

Hmmm? Call me Contradictory Larry?

Tucked within the monolog-like words of Jesus to his disciples (John 15, the Gospel lesson for the upcoming sixth Sunday of Easter), the Nazarene said of his disciples, “you are my friends.” He continued with, “I appointed you to go and bear fruit . . .”

Whether planned or spontaneous, in a hospital before major surgery or at the kitchen table offering a chance to work with youth (such a deal!), visiting could nurture a sharing of faithful fruit. Continue reading →

Love, Illuminated . . . and Repeated

John 15:9-17 – The 6th Sunday of Easter – for Sunday, May 10, 2015

“This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

tumblr_lid1srrxXM1qi9c69o1_500There it was. Again.

That verse . . . This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. It’s from John 15. Another variation of Jesus’ statement was made—in the same room, with the same disciples, in the same time frame—back in John’s chapter 13.

Regardless of where it’s found or repeated, I’m afraid of that simple, thirteen-words-in-English sentence.

Since seminary, and perhaps before, I’ve known the Greeks had at least four distinctive words for love . . . eros, philia, storge, and agape. Eros, the love that ranges from the lustful to the romantic. Philia is treating friends like a favorite brother or sister. Storge is linked to the life-long affection and connection within families. Then there’s the final understanding of love, which is the one I fear, which is the one Jesus frequently used. Continue reading →