Read John 13:31-35.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. (John 13:34)

What is the substance of this new glory with which Jesus was glorified? The difference now, the change, the new glory, is the completion of God’s work in Jesus, his death and resurrection. Jesus had served selflessly, but now he was silent before his accusers. Now he carried his cross as long as he was able. Now he willingly followed his executioners.

To obey the new commandment, to love in the way he loved, we too follow along the path on which we are led, the path to Golgotha. We too do not answer our accusers. We too carry our crosses to the extent we are able, until we too collapse under the weight—at which point there is help also for us. We too are nailed on the cross. We too die—in our case, to the world, to sin, to self. We too are reborn in perfect love.

What is Jesus’ new commandment? More love now than to love our neighbors as ourselves, to the point of equality. Instead, we are to love to the point of death. We empty ourselves of self and give our lives for others. We lose ourselves entirely in service and in love. In this loss of self we find our true selves and are glorified with him whom we love. We love to the point of resurrection.

Where is this dark abyss of love, this opening narrow but deep, this gateway with the appearance—and fact—of death for those who enter? Something tells me that though it appears dark as I approach, it is bright on the inside. How do I find it? How do I enter? How do I lose myself in love?

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin College and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.