Our scripture this morning is John 15:9-13.

“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”

Today in the United States and some other nations it is Memorial Day, a time to remember those who have died defending others for their shared beliefs. I retired after 20 years in the Air Force and while Memorial Day is for those who died in uniform, if anyone tells me “thank you for your service” today, I’ll say “you’re welcome” and remember all those who as Abraham Lincoln said “gave the last full measure of devotion” that we might live in peace.

In this passage, Jesus says His command for us is to “love one another as I have loved you”. He follows that immediately with “no one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends”. Jesus is telling them what He is going to do for us, and what those who follow Him may be called to do as well.

We know that many of the disciples were martyred for their faith, the sad continuation of a long line of persecution for God’s people that still happens today. We may not be asked to go into physical combat, but spiritual warfare is all around us. God calls us to be ready through His word and His love.

Gracious God, thank You for a love that will not let us go. Bless us to stand firm in our faith, loving one another and ready to lay down our lives for Christ. Amen.

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