"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" - John 15:13
"Camille on her Deathbed", 1879, Claude Monet
It is extremely difficult to love unselfishly. We aspire to it, because the moment we subordinate the other's needs to our own, the moment we use them, we have, for that moment, ceased to love. Being selfish, a user, and regretting it, overcoming it, starting again; this is one of life's patterns. Death of a beloved can be an acid test; we are being abandoned, even if unintentionally. Utter concentration on the other in such a time of crisis is very rare. That is what makes Monet's picture so extraordinary. Camille was his wife; her early death left Monet not only bereft of her companionship but with small children now fully dependent on him. Obviously, Monet is to some extent escaping the pain by externalizing it, but it is, nonetheless, a remarkable act of egoless activity. He forgets himself in catching the least glimmer of light on his wife's face. In itself, this self-forgetfulness is the essence of true commitment.
Read this passage of scripture from I Corinthians 13
1) Read it softly, no need to rush
2) Id there a word or phrase that stands out?
It intrigues you ...(I wonder?)
it irritates you (I don't do that!)
a word that makes you sense God is speaking
3) Read the passage again with this word or phrase in mind.
Where does it touch your life today?
Maybe take a moment to journal some thoughts on a piece of scratch paper. Writing or speaking can be a powerful tool for externalizing something you wrestle with or wonder at.
4) Read the passage one last time and ask God to reveal where He is calling you to action?
Ask God to continue speaking over the course of the day, the week. Revealing more as you contemplate your question in prayer.
5) Close with the Lord's prayer
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
when you're ready...
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.