John 13:1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Feel the weight of these words in your heart. The Maker and King of the world loves his own. His stance is first and foremost love. You and I cannot be separated from this love. Paul, to the church of Rome says that no powers, not even that or life, and separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. John the gospel writer says that for God so loved the world that He gave. He didn’t come to the world to condemn it but to save the world–to heal, redeem, and renew.
As a corporate chaplain, my work is to love people. When I tell people my job description, I say that my primary work is to care and support others. If I was really vulnerable and transparent, as I meet a new employee, I would really say, “I am here to be a loving presence to our employees and the company.”
I am struck by the words of Jesus. After all, He is the Good Shepherd and the One I am trying to live for, through, and with. I am trying to emulate His words and actions.
Self: How can I, today, experience the full extent of his love for me in this world? I might start with acknowledging how much I really need it. I might do a heart/body/mind scan and notice where the needs and wants might be.
Our own: How can I be a loving presence to those who are “my own”? And who are my own? My marriage, kids, friends, literal neighbors, and those I get to serve at Hoehn Motors. Here are some ways I am hoping to be a loving presence:
- Listen: the number one activity I do is to be fully present, listening to those I love. It takes self-awareness and a decision to listen without judgment.
- Empathize: share in their experiences. “Tell me more”. “What was that like for you”. “That must have been fun/upsetting/hurtful/hard/exciting”.
- Encourage: be the fan in someone’s corner. Offer someone an affirmation or compliment. Highlight some of their strengths. Give hope and confidence. We all need it.
- Pray: lift up the needs others may have, seek God’s presence and comfort others’ behalf.
Reflection Questions: Take a moment to pray for the ones you are called to love. Hold them in your heart. What are their needs? What words of encouragement might they need? What actions or gestures of love do they need?
If ever we forget what the primacy of our faith and life is all about, make a return to John 13:1. He displays his full extent of love through service.