Love that empowers



Light for the Way devotional series

We invite you to peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Optage Hospice Chaplain Keith Falk

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” —John 13:34-35

These words of Jesus are included in the foundational Bible verses for Presbyterian Homes & Services; and these words of Jesus are a part of what gives today, Maundy Thursday, its name.

The word “maundy” has its roots in the Latin word “mandatum”, a word which means “command” – so the very name of today is tied to these verses, this new commandment of Jesus, a verse we at PHS declare is foundational for the Christian ministry we do.

Yet, foundational though it is, I find this commandment of Jesus to be ever so daunting at times. As much as I may tell myself how important it is to love one another, there are some people I just don’t find to be that lovable. People who always complain and never appreciate the work I do; people who are rude or condescending; people who don’t care as much or work as hard as me. The list could go on and on of those people I am to love as Jesus commanded, but nevertheless struggle to love. In the moment of knowing that I fail to love as Jesus did, I could despair and wonder if it is worth the effort to try. I could wonder if I fit in at all in this love of Jesus.

And then I remember.

I remember that Jesus gives this commandment to love one another to the disciples. To Simon Peter, who would go on to deny Jesus three times; to the disciples who wouldn’t initially believe the testimony of the women that Jesus had risen; to the disciples who would hide behind a door in a locked room after the resurrection. Jesus gives the commandment to those who fall short, including the likes of you and me.

“A new commandment, I give to you, that you love one another,” Jesus declares, “even as I have loved you.” The love Jesus gives is perfect, whole, and forgiving. His love comes to us when we fall short of the commandment to love one another. His love enfolds us, strengthens us, and empowers us to love others in all we do. We move forward this day and every day in love and service because Jesus loves us.

Rev. Keith Falk has served as a chaplain with Optage Hospice since the end of January 2022. An ordained Lutheran pastor, he has worked as a chaplain in hospice and at the VA in St. Cloud, Minn., the past two and a half years and served in congregational settings in Ohio and Oklahoma for 13 years prior to that. He and his wife Abby have 5 teenagers at home, which is enough to keep them busy.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care resources website.



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