Reflection for Good Friday
by Eva Foster
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34, NIV)
Throughout His ministry, Jesus preached and exhibited love. Yet, in this text he offers what He identifies as a new commandment: “love one another.” The newness of this commandment does not merely lie in the thought of love, but in the notion that we love as Jesus loves us.
The words found in John 13:34 will speak directly to us as we consider the inner city which is characterized by poor education opportunities, high unemployment rates, inadequate housing and lack of services to the elderly and disenfranchised
If we are to live our lives as Christ commanded there must be a shift in focus from the local church to the greater community. There must be a shift from the focus of what's happening to us as a congregation to what's happening to us as a community.
This notion of love calls local congregations into accountability by having them examine the immediate neighborhood and require that they speak out against injustice and inequality. It requires our active presence in the school systems. It requires that we demand programs for the elderly. It requires that, as a congregation we provide a presence that speaks out against systemic activities that have a negative impact on our communities.
It is incumbent upon Christians to speak out on issues that impact the communities where we provide ministry. We must hear Jesus' mandate ... to love one another ... with the knowledge that loving one another as he loved us calls for us to speak truth to power.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, we thank you for the newness of your love for us. You loved us so much that you sacrificed your life. Our prayer, O God, is that we might be able to sacrifice our lives of comfort and security as a tribute of love for those who are in hopelessness and despair. Allow us to love others as you have loved us.
Rev. Dr. Eva C. Foster is a member of the clergy at First Baptist Church – Vauxhall, NJ. Dr. Foster is a graduate of the Drew University Theological School and received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She is active in American Baptist Churches of NJ and serves as Chair of the Essex Association Ordination Committee.