The commandment of Love  by Ralph Fothergill, adapted by June Fothergill Scripture:  John 15: 1-12;  Acts 14: 8-22 There is a true story from Scotland about what happened in the parsonage of the Rev. Samuel Rutherford, who served the Presbyterian Church over 200 years ago. He was a contemporary of John Wesley.  One evening a stranger appeared at his door and sought lodging. He was receive graciously. As it was the custom of the minster and his family to have devotions at the end of the day.  The stranger was asked to join the family service.  After the pastor read the scripture for the day each person was asked questions about the Bible.  When the time came for the stranger’s question he was asked, “ How many Commandments are there?”  He quickly responded “ 11” The minister was surprised and a bit shocked at the man’s ignorance, so corrected  him, “ There are only 10 commandments”.  The stranger then replied , “ Have you never then read, ‘ A New commandment I give you that you love one another?’  The guest was the renowned biblical scholar of the day James Ussher, the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh . The next day was Sunday and the Rev. Rutherford asked the Archbishop to preach to his Presbyterian congregation.  He did and used the text “ Love One another”  which was very fitting because in those days the animosity between the Anglicans and the Presbyterians was extreme. How necessary and important all over the world today it is for us too, to hear these same words of our Lord,” Love one another” as we deal with the many different and varied people with whom we come in contact each day. To love as first loved by Christ ever since Christ’s death and resurrection as been the distinctive mark of true Christians.  “ By this everyone will know  that you are my disciples” says John 13:35- that you love another as I have loved you.  According to the each church father’s likely Tertullian, Christians in the 2nd century were spoken of by the world in these words, “ See how they love one another.”  This love was mot just a warm and nice feeling experience inside, but as Tertullian pointed out, “ How ready they are to die for one another.” Real love is that crucial. Richard Hayes in “ Living by the Word” calls this commandment to love one another a crisis order.. a directive to a community about to love its leader.   He points out, “ When Jesus issued this immediately after Judas departure from the common supper, he knew that he would be with the disciples...

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