Thursday, 2 April 2015

Reflection for Holy Thursday: ‘Love one another…’

Holy Thursday.

The day of the ‘Mandatum’, from the first word of the phrase,

‘Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos,

‘A new commandment I give you: Love one another, as I have loved you’- St John 13:34.

It’s said that the apostle John, at the end of his life-

frail, blind, nearly deaf, and senile-

would be lovingly carried on a bed into the meetings of the Christian community.

All he would say was ‘Love one another… Love one another…’

Over, and over, and over…

‘Love one another… Love one another…’

He had heard it spoken at that last supper;

He was the last person alive who had been at that last supper;

He had heard it said;

He saw it lived.

He stood at the cross, watched Jesus die, for years had taken care of Jesus’ mother…

At the end of his life, he wanted us to remember one thing:

‘Love one another…’

‘Love one another…’

It was everything; the whole thing, all three years…

Treat each as you would be treated.

It is still the whole thing, all law, all prophets, all ethics, all reasoning.

What if that were true?

What if that really was all there was to it?

World history would look very different.

There’d have been no slavery, because no one chooses to be kidnapped, sold, raped, and worked to death;

There’d have been no imperialism, because no one wants to have their home and land stolen, their culture marginalized, their language suppressed, their labour and resources stolen;

There’d have been no discrimination, ‘Jim Crow’ laws or institutionalized bigotry because who’d do that to anyone they loved- to their children, parents, or spouse? Who’d sign up for that for themselves? That’d be insane…

There’d have been no lynching, because no one wants to be murdered so that others can feel good about themselves and their own privileges;

There’d be no death penalty. Yeah, some people kill themselves, but who’d rig the law and the justice system against their own interests, then falsify evidence, hire a bad lawyer, and stack a jury to make sure they died hopeless and alone, vilified and hated?

There’d be no inequality for anyone before the law. I mean, it almost never happens to me, of course; I’m a Western, heterosexual, white male. Who, in their right mind, would give up THAT? Who would rain on a parade THAT fantastic?!

History would look very different.

Our present would look very different.

If only we’d have listened to that frail, blind, nearly deaf, and senile old man,

The one who kept repeating ‘Love one another…’

‘Love one another…’

‘Love one another…’

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