"If you love me..."

Thinking more about yesterday's thoughts, I wanted to emphasize what seems central to experiencing the Spirit present and active in our lives. Jesus points to it repeatedly in that passage in John 14:

"Those who have my commandments and keep them, those are the ones who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and manifest myself to them."

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"

Jesus answered him, "If you love me, you will keep my word, and my Father will love you and we will come to you and make our home with you." (Jn 14.21-23)
This is not just about a new attitude of heart, or a fervency of worship. It is complete surrender of our whole lives (relationships, work, money, etc) to God in faith, so his love--his Spirit--moves us to act. To speak and serve others as Jesus did and taught.

"If you love me, you will keep my word."

That reminds me of this classic Calvin & Hobbes:

p.s. Someone suggested I share something "good" about a worship service. Okay, how's this? From an old journal:
Sunday night was a happy surprise. I stopped at a church, hoping for a service that never happened, but a group of women showed up (with some children). They did some aerobics, then their own version of worship. Like a charismatic prayer time, but with music and dancing instead of words. The middle of the church was an open area, and 4-5 of the women (all ages, kids too) danced with hand-held flags, and sometimes without. Very vigorous and beautiful. Singing would swell with the music at times, and some loud shouts. Laughing. At climatic points, they seemed to feed on each other's energy. When they were finally tired, they laid around on the floor with closed eyes. A few children laid close to their mothers.

It seemed more harmonious than other charismatic prayer I'd seen, and I told them. Dance also seems more edifying to others, since we can watch each other pray. (They sometimes do choreographed dances for church services, too). I was delighted to have been a witness to it. Not many men have seen it, I bet.

Several women asked about me, and we talked in a small group afterwards. Then Shari, a single mom, took me home with her and her kids, and Sharia. Sharia is maybe 19, a girl Shari found in a homeless shelter (after a rough past), who is now a member of their family. I talked with both of them on the way and before bed. Very impressive women. Inquisitive, courageous, and eager for God.

We talked more in the morning over strong Spanish coffee. The kids fussed and fooled around getting ready for school. Shari went to work. Then Sharia invited me to join her morning communion. She brought out bread and wine ("It's real--don't tell anyone!") and prayed simple prayers as we took each. Wow. She said I was the first to join her.

I could really go on and on about these women. I felt and overwhelming love for them, and so honored to be their guest. Again (as a few times before), it was like God said, "Look, I've got someone here I'd like to show you."