2018-19 RCL-C Fifth Sunday of Easter
Additional Resources for Proclamation & Preaching
Easter 05: May 19, 2019 • Gospel Text: John 13:31-35
Bear Wrongs Patiently
Proclamation for Today
by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth
What if it is nature itself that models for us bearing wrongs patiently? A relatively new focus in 21st century philosophy, object-oriented ontology (OOO), invites us to reconsider our privileging of human existence (and experience) over non-human objects. At root, the argument of OOO is that non-human objects are not exhausted by our perception of them as phenomena, but can also relate to one another and in this sense “perceive” us and one another, even if different from the way humans perceive and think.
What does this have to do with the gospel and Christ’s giving of the love command? Well, notice in this lesson how thinks proceed “just-as” throughout the text. Just as the Father glorifies the Son the Son glorifies the Father. There is a mutuality to the back-and-forth of the glorifying. Then the love command repeats this just-as-ing. Just as I have loved you, you love one another.
There is parallel here between the mutuality of glory, the mutuality of love, and the mutuality of all “relations” in object-oriented ontology. That post there on the field might distorts the field near it just as much as you distort the post by your perception of it. And similarly, your perception of the post might offer you something phenomenologically in the same way the post’s patient standing may change the relation of the bird sitting on it to the rain that falls all around both.
This then has implications for a deeper understanding of the work of mercy, of bearing wrongs patiently.
“As uniquely rational animals, humans are able to think and to develop ideas. Problems arise, however, when our ideas become detached from an ability to respond to concrete reality and experience. When this happens we become less merciful and unable to bear the perceived wrongs of others. So we can perhaps learn much from other aspects of the natural world, which, although lacking human awareness, are resilient to others’ crimes and harbour no grudges. When we struggle to show patience, particularly in the face of what we perceive to be wrongdoing, we should look to the resilience of the natural world for encouragement and instruction in this particular work of mercy [bearing wrongs patiently]” (Henry Longbottom, excerpted from Thinking Faith).
Reflecting on the patient endurance of creation itself, reflecting on the love God has for Christ, and Christ has for us, perhaps we might deepen our ability to then love one another.
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Historical Exegetical Resources
From the Geneva Notes.
"The betraying of Christ was not accidental, or a thing that happened by chance, but it was the Father who ordained the cause of our salvation, to reconcile us unto himself in his Son, and the Son willingly and voluntarily obeyed the Father."
"Our Lord Jesus does many things of which even his own disciples do not for the present know the meaning, but they shall know afterward."
From Wesley's Notes.
"In a more general sense it may mean, If I do not wash thee in my blood, and purify thee by my Spirit, thou canst have no communion with me, nor any share in the blessings of my kingdom."
From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871).
"Peter saith . . . Lord, dost thou wash my feet?--Our language cannot bring out the intensely vivid contrast between the "Thou" and the "my," which, by bringing them together, the original expresses, for it is not good English to say, "Lord, Thou my feet dost wash?" But every word of this question is emphatic."
From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891.
"A rebuke to their ambitious strife, far more powerful than words could have spoken: such a rebuke that never again do we see a hint of the old question, "Who should be greatest?" It was Christ's answer to their unseemly conduct, and a lesson to those Christians "who love the pre-eminence" for all time. It said, "Let him that would be greatest become the servant of all.""
Lectionary Blogging: John 13:31-35, John Petty, Progressive Involvement, 2010.
"There are any number of ways in which people seek to maintain their own defenses, pretensions, and self-justifications--at least one for about every person on earth. We tend to 'love' those who buy into our self-justifications, thereby letting us stay in our neurosis."
First Look: John 13;1-35, Lee Koontz, reflectious, 2010.
"Lest we think that we can simply ignore the messy work of loving those dirty others out there, Jesus takes aim at our complacent tendencies."
Laterally Luke, by Brian McGowan, Anglican priest in Western Australia.
"The New Commandment," Rev. Bryan Findlayson, Lectionary Bible Studies and Sermons, Pumpkin Cottage Ministry Resources.
"Share examples of how you have tried to love others, but failed. Discuss the faith way - the prayer of faith."
Kairos CoMotion Lectionary Discussion, John 13:31-35, Wesley White. "A place of conversation regarding Progressive Christianity."
Fifth Sunday of Easter, The Church in Mission: Gospel Texts for the Sundays of Easter (Series C), Duane Olson, Word & World Texts in Context, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, 1995.
"We need to read verses 34 and 35 together. The love that exists in the Christian community is an integral part of that community's witness, and these two elements are always in tension with one another."
"Maundy Thursday is for April Fools," Debra Dean Murphy, Intersections, 2010.
"Is it any wonder that, since the very beginning of the Jesus movement, Christians have been suspected of doing strange, disgusting things when they gather for their sacred rituals?"
Commentary, John 13:1-17, 31b-35, Audrey West, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2009.
Commentary, John 13:21-30, Cleophus J. LaRue, The African American Lectionary, 2010.
Love One Another
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Dramatic Reading of the Text
Readers: Narrator, Jesus
Narrator: When he had gone out, Jesus said,
Jesus: “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”