“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” John 15:9
Abiding. It’s the theme of our gospel readings for the next 2 Sundays. So what does it mean to abide in Christ? After all abiding is not a word we normally use in our everyday conversations. It’s an old fashioned word. Hotel signs, for example, typically read “stay here,” not “abide here.” Baseball announcers don’t sum up an inning with “one hit, one walk, and two abiding on base.” And if we’ve invited a friend or relative to use our guest bedroom, we don’t say ‘come abide at our place.” We say ‘come stay with us.”
So, when Jesus says ‘abide in my love’ he is inviting us to enter into a place of rest and renewal—a place where we can be surrounded by God’s love and experience the healing power of God’s love.
But abiding doesn’t just happen by accident—just like any other relationship, our relationship with God requires finding ways to create space and time for the relationship to flourish. To abide in Christ means to stop and dwell in God’s presence—to gather with other fellow believers to worship God—to read God’s Word and enter into conversation with God through prayer and meditation.
And yes, I know, it is not always easy to make time for these things to happen. I know because it’s something that I struggle with, but when I make time for God on a regular basis (and by regular I mean almost daily), I find myself more able to deal with the stresses and busyness of life.
Which is why it’s also important that we hear Jesus’ call to abide not as a command, but as an invitation, because that’s what it is—an invitation to enter into a deeper relationship with God so that we might know and experience the love of God in greater fullness.