Agape: March 14, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

“A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.” -Proverbs 17:17

I blush to confess that this is my first encounter with this particular proverb, and it immediately struck me as something that Shakespeare might have written for Henry IV. Both this selection from Proverbs and King Henry’s stirring speech before the Battle of Agincourt (as dramatized by The Bard) make a point that resonates with me. As I look back on my life, there are a lot of people who have loved me and that I have loved in return. But when it comes to the those who have stood with me through thick and thin, brotherhood is truly forged in the crucible of adversity — for sooner or later we all confront our own “St. Crispin’s Day.” This is a truth that transcends theology but is nonetheless an emulation of God’s love for us. And on that note, I leave you with Henry IV’s exhortation to his “band of brothers”:

“For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

Lord, I thank you for the example you sent to us in the form of your son, our Savior, Christ Jesus, that love is given, not earned. It is not for us to be worthy, for Christ didn’t ask that of us. He simply asked us to love without condition, as God loves us. In that love, we are all truly brothers and sisters. Amen.
-Michael Boss