Kathleen Giffin

WORD MADE FLESH

Sixth Sunday in Easter – May 10, 2015
Acts 10.25-26, 34-35, 44-48 | Psalm 98 | 1 John 4.7-10 | John 15.9-17
May 4, 2015

Yesterday I had a delightful time in my garden with my granddaughter, who is almost four. She wanted to know what she could eat from the garden, so we found the first of the spring chives and the early violets.

Then we searched for other flowers, finding the crocuses that she picked to put in her playhouse and the February Daphne, which I don't think she quite figured out how to smell.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. – John 15.13

'No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.'

John 15.13

She had come to me, looking for my company in the backyard, and though I had been feeling the tug to join her earlier, I had not. I was busy, trying to finish a paper I was writing.

I'm busy a lot. There are always projects on the go, deadlines and tasks and the next thing to do. So I frequently find myself in the situation where I would like to join in with the play or take time with a friend, and I do not because of my busyness.

John's Gospel quotes Jesus instructing the disciples on the nature of love. He says: "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."

The first thought in hearing these words is "yes, I can love like that." There are many for whom I know both my instinctive and thoughtful response would be to give my life in order to save theirs.

But then I think about what happened yesterday. If I had not been invited to the garden would I have gone? Must it come to me having to avoid saying "no" in order to say "yes"?

GREATER PRESENCE

Then I think of the many, many times that I regret not having been more present to someone, the phone calls I have not made, the people I have not visited, the friends who I knew were in need but I kept to the task of my business rather than attending to theirs.

To lay down one's life for one's friends must be more than the big grand gestures we secretly hope we never have to make. It must be about daily life.

Jesus says that is the characteristic of love; that we not only are willing to set our lives aside for a friend, but that we do. If I am to do that, I best make some more space in my life for love, for people, for time to share in their suffering and their joy.

The best part of my day yesterday was finding chives and crocuses, sitting and visiting the Mary statue in the corner of the garden, seeing the world through my granddaughter's eyes. The worst part of my day yesterday was what I didn't do for someone else.

(Kathleen Giffin kgif@telus.net)