“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12
Jesus spoke these words as He neared the Cross, where He would lay down His life for us, His friends. There is no greater love than sacrificial love, the theme of One Sunday Morning. The essence of God is love and He demonstrates this on the Cross.
What happens when an illness that comes with a stigma attached enters a relationship? Can the friendship stand the test, or will the stigma associated with that illness tear it apart? I tackle the issue in my first collection of short stories, The Phoenix Chronicles, through the main character in One Sunday Morning. Christy Duncan is faced with a difficult situation involving her best friend, Anna. One Sunday morning, Anna doesn’t show up for church. Christy searches for her and when she finds her, she is shocked at what she discovers:
“Hey,” Christy said. She kneeled in front of her and took her thin hands.
Anna grasped hers. “I’m sick, honey. Very sick.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wasn’t ready for you to know.”
“Know what? What’s wrong?”
“I have AIDs.”
It felt as though the entire room caved into her chest. Christy had heard of the disease and it was always coupled with words like dirty needles and unprotected sex.”
Out of fear and ignorance Christy runs away. Will she return? Will love be enough to bring her back? There is only one love that can withstand any pressure: the unfailing love of God, for God is love. If we are living in relationship with Him, His love reaches into every part of our lives, empowering us to embrace all people unconditionally. We sacrifice ourselves to be there for others.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” John 3:16