Pondering for Thursday, April 23, 2020

Daily Office Readings for Thursday after the 2nd Sunday of Easter: Year 2

Psalm 18:1- 50; Exod. 16:10-22; 1 Pet. 2:11-25; John 15:12-27

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12)

I really like this “John” rendition of the love commandment better than the one in the Synoptic Gospels where it is said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  The presupposition is that you love yourself. I have met people who do not love themselves. How then can they be expected to love others? 

I am not trying to promote narcissism here but a great many people need to know that they are loved by God and to suggest that God can’t act in them is not saying they are not good enough, but that God, in all God’s unlimited ability, God is not able to act in them. Balderdash! God can, and will use any person to do God’s will.  We are definitely commanded to love ourselves as part of the commandment to love. But just in case we don’t get it, St. John records our Lord Jesus as saying love “one another” (which includes yourself) as I have loved you. And remember, Jesus loved you all the way to the cross. Every human being is so worthy, and so loved.  Thank you Lord Jesus.

Today we remember Toyohiko Kagawa. Toyohiko Kagawa: Prophetic Witness in Japan: 1960

Toyohiko Kagawa, born on July 10, 1888, in Kobe, Japan, was a Japanese evangelist, advocate of social change, and pacifist. He prayed that he would live like Jesus lived, and love like Jesus loved.

He lived for much of the 1910 – 1924 period of his life in a six-foot-square windowless shed in Kobe’s slums.  During this time Kagawa took in two other men in this small accommodation.  One was a very sick man who many would not welcome for fear of a contagion.  The other was a convicted felon whom most others still feared.  Kagawa had very little for them to eat.  Kagawa made a pact with them that they all would each drink a glass of water before sharing their single serving bowl of rice.  This is how they existed for much of their initial time together.  The point is, Kagawa did not turn the men away because he had too little, or from fear of what might happen to him.  This is the Jesus movement. I wish I could be more like Toyohiko Kagawa, whose prayer was that he be more like Jesus. 

Although some knew him best as a social reformer and pacifist, Kagawa saw himself first of all an evangelist. “Christ alone can make all things new,” he said, “The spirit of Christ must be the soul of all real social reconstruction.” Kagawa died on April 23, 1960 in Tokyo. (Taken from the Great Cloud of Witnesses for April 23)

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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