What does it mean to love to the end. Country music is filled with emotional ballads about loving until the end. Scotty McCreery penned these lyrics, “At 86, my grandpa said, ‘There’s angels in the room’ / With all the family gathered ’round, we knew that time was coming soon,” / “With so much left to say, I prayed, ‘Lord, I ain’t finished / Just give us five more minutes.” Living and dying without regrets is a wonderful thing. To have everything said that needed to be said. Nothing left on the table. No doubts about your relationship. No questions of what last wishes might be.
I served many years as a police chaplain. One of the most heartbreaking times I remember is when I was called to the scene of a terrible traffic accident. One time in particular I remember informing a wife of her husband’s death. This by itself is tragic, but her response indicated years of unsaid conversations and harsh words never forgiven. That kind of regret is titanic.
The text today tells us that Jesus loved his disciples to the end. The clear implication is that there were no unsaid things or regrets. As difficult as this time was for Jesus, knowing he was about to go to the cross, he loved them to the end.
There’s a story of a woman with a terminal disease telling her pastor she wants to be buried with a fork in her right hand. “Why?” She said, “At every potluck dinner she would attend, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork, something wonderful is coming, dessert.” “So I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then, Pastor, I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork… the best is yet to come.’”
Next time you pick up your fork, remember Jesus loves you so much. He loves you to the end. The best is yet to come.