Untitled Banner (2010)
Unknown Artist
public domain

Easter 6, John 15:9-17

Historical Description:

Very often our world loves to hear themes of human reconciliation.  Reconciliation among the races is a very popular artistic motif, with visuals encompassing various shades of colors to represent various races.  Here, however, one has a different take on the world’s theme.  This unnamed banner could hang in any congregation.  Its design is simple.  Some might even dismiss it as pedestrian, as not true “art.”  But this simple banner made of common materials reminds us of the love of God.  A love as common as a carpenter, who takes the materials of our flesh and a builds a community of love within this world.  A love as simple as the daily things you do for one another.  In this banner, notice how the races don’t take centrality, the cross does.  The cross, with a discarded crown of thorns on top of it, becomes the rallying point for all people to look upon and remember exactly how they are to love one another – through Christ’s sacrifice.

Devotional Reflection:

Love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13 (ESV)

Peter denied him.

Thomas doubted him.

Nicodemus questioned him.

A rich man walked away from him.

Sinners flocked to him.

Babies were held by him.

Mourning women followed him.

Soldiers crucified him.

And yet . . . Jesus died for all of them.

It is amazing how many people Jesus met during His earthly ministry.  He met people who loved Him, and some who hated Him.  He met people who admired Him, and others who were jealous of Him.  But whomever Jesus met, He was willing to die for them.  He laid down His life so that anyone and everyone might have the opportunity to become enwrapped within the sacrifice of His great love for us.

Jesus told his followers that they were to love one another in the same way that Jesus loved them.  Western styles of romantic love flower and fade quickly.  They flash hot like a firework and dim just as fast.  But the type of love Jesus describes is long lasting.  It immediately implies longevity, endurance and serving others.   This is the type of love that motivates a husband to lay down not only his physical life for his wife, but to spend all the years of his life sacrificing for her.  Sacrificial love is what motivates a mother to sacrifice her cherished sleep for a crying infant at 2 am who needs no one other than “mommy.”  The love Christ showed us on the cross can allow us to sacrifice our will to always be “right” in an argument (maturity does come at a cost).  Christ’s sacrificial love teaches us to be patient with others and forgiving of their sins in the same way Christ forgives our sins.  We truly can love one another with the sacrificial love Christ loved us.  After all, as Christians, how else could we possibly love one another?

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