This morning I was in the sacristy (the room behind the altar where our robes and vessels for worship are kept) when Karen Tynes made an interesting observation. She pointed out that the words, “Walk in love,” spoken in the worship, are a command. We are told, urged, and even commanded to, “Walk in love as Christ loved us.”
Just what does it mean to, “Walk in love?” We know what it means to love. Love is an action, a verb, something we do. We know that God loves us and shows us that love through Jesus and through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We know that love is something wonderful because the more we give love away, the more we have. But how do we, “Walk in love?”
In this case, walking is both a literal action and a metaphor for something more. Jesus walked with his followers, and he taught them as they walked. To walk with Jesus then was to learn from him, to experience his love and wisdom, and to experience the embodiment of God’s love and wisdom. Walking with Jesus then was a life-changing, transformational experience. Walking with Jesus today is all of those things, even if it is not literally walking.
Today we walk in love literally when we extend generosity, compassion, and love to others. There is an action, a movement, and a choice necessary to share God’s love or to do God’s work, or even to just be a friend. When we help cook or clean up for one of our events, be it a St. Agnes event or a Community Dinner, we are walking in love. When we go to visit a friend in the hospital or take a meal to someone who has lost a loved one, we are walking in love.
We also walk in love metaphorically when we follow Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) The “way” that Jesus teaches us is the way of love. We can know and love God as Abba, Father, because Jesus has made that relationship possible for us. To walk in love is to walk the way of Jesus. The first name we Christians had was followers of “the Way.” We walk in love, then, by following Jesus who leads us to God.
As Karen pointed out, Walk in Love is a command. We obey that command by keeping the practices of Christian faith. We regularly read the scriptures. We give thanks to God daily. We offer prayers daily. We listen for God’s guidance with moments of silence and meditation. We engage in Christian hospitality. We worship together, pray for healing, and we practice love in all its active forms.
Walk in love, as Christ loved us.
Yours in Christ,