Love One Another: A Midrash on John 13

A man was walking down the road, praying and praising God. He said, “Lord, you created all things and you know all things. What is your will for my life?” Just then, he came upon a stranger on the side of the road. The stranger said, “Sir, my life is filled with troubles. Can you spare a few coins and your prayers.” But the man said, “Sorry, I do not have the time, I am searching for God’s will for my life.” And he passed by on the other side of the road.

“Lord,” he said, “You created all things and you know all things. What is your will for my life?” Suddenly, his neighbor walked up beside him. “Friend,” she said, “My car has broken down. Could you spare a minute to help me repair it?” “Sorry,” the man replied, “I do not have the time, I am searching for God’s will for my life.” And he passed by on the other side of the road.

“Lord,” he prayed, “you created all things and you know all things. What is your will for my life?” Immediately, his mother stood before him. “Son,” she said to him, “I cannot carry my groceries any longer. Will you carry them for me?” “Sorry,” the man replied, “I do not have the time, I am searching for God’s will for my life.” And he passed her by on the other side. And the man walked away sad, thinking God had not answered his prayer.

Whenever we seek after the Lord’s will for our lives, we are not left without an answer. Our Lord Jesus himself said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

We are right to seek God’s will in the large decisions of life – who to marry, what career to pursue, where to go for our education. But we are called, every day, to love one another. To humble ourselves and love the people in front of us.

We see this in Jesus, who got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. We see the love of Christ, as he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

We do not need to ask “what is the Lord’s will?” He has told us – love one another. And he has shown us how – by stooping down as a servant to wash the dusty feet of his disciples.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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