“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9–17)
Our text comes from what is known as the Final Discourse, when Jesus and the disciples move from the Last Supper to his betrayal. As he prepares them for his death, he’s been speaking with them about remaining in him and in his love. To abide in him.
But what does this mean – abiding, so that our joy may be complete? One of the commentators calls it a mystical and interior experience. Perhaps it is mystical, but I hope it can also be natural, practical, and down-to-earth.
We remain in Jesus even as God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit remain in each other. As we saw last week, we are the branches that are attached to the vine. And our growth comes through nourishment – prayer, companionship with other believers, study of God’s word, corporate worship – all empowered by the Holy Spirit who makes his home in us.
Brother Lawrence was one who sought to remain, moment by moment, in Jesus. He was a French monk who lived in the 1600s and worked in the kitchen, so he was definitely rooted in his spirituality. He coined the term “practicing the presence of God,” which simply means calling to mind – anywhere, anytime – that Christ dwells in us, and allowing that reality to shape our lives.
So when we’re making dinner for our family or friends, we can affirm that Christ lives in us as we ask him to help us make a special and nourishing meal. When we are queuing at the bank we can remember that Jesus radiates from within and that we can be his witness of grace to the hassled clerk behind the window. When we are annoyed by ones we love most, we can ask the triune God to help us see that person as he sees them and love them as he does.
As we remain in the love of Jesus, our life will be transformed and our joy will be complete.
For reflection: “In your conversation with God, praise him, adore him, and love him without ceasing because of his infinite goodness and perfection” (Brother Lawrence).