When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
I couldn't resist googling, "what are Christians known for?" and this video came up first... it's short. And it doesn't say anything you wouldn't already guess if you were playing a game show with the same question. But nonetheless, here it is.
They will know that you are my disciples when you love one another.
I think that's true.
You know what else I think is true. I know that I am a disciple of Jesus when I love another. Particularly when I find it difficult to love.
A woman in my congregation was struggling with loving her parents and said, "I love strangers... why can't I find grace for my own parents?" My answer... "Oh come on... all of us have a problem finding grace for members of our own families. Strangers are easy."
Interestingly, on the same day that I had this conversation about loving family members, another congregant asked me about humility. "Where does humility come from?" He said, "I don't know if I have it and I'm wondering where to look for it." I asked him if he experienced awe or inspiration or deep gratitude. He said, "Yes." I said, "perhaps humility is found in relationship to those things around us that inspire us. Or maybe humility is found in the space that is created between us and our inspiration or gratitude."
Maybe humility is about perspective. Maybe love is about perspective.
That same day - seriously... what a day!?! I learned that a colleague of mine was going to teach a short lesson to a group of cub scouts. The lesson? Reverence. We laughed out loud at the idea of teaching reverence to a 6 year old. But alas, she would give it her best.
Reverence, Humility, Gratitude, Inspiration, Awe, Love
This passage from John comes at the end of the chapter where Jesus washes the disciples feet. What's the modern day equivalent of washing someone's feet at dinner time?
I have to believe that it too has something to do with perspective or relationship. I have to believe this kind of intimate act includes reverence and humility, gratitude, inspiration, awe and love.
What did Jesus see in each of his friends as he knelt beside them with basin and towel? What was his perspective? What lived in the space between Jesus and his friend's feet?
Was it reverence for the Spirit that breathed life in each of their moments?
Was it humility that they had followed him, a Palestinian Jew with flesh and blood and dangerous, some would even say seditious ideas? They had loved him. Was he humbled by their love?
Was it sheer gratitude of having friends along this journey?
Was he inspired by the gifts that they had, each of them different gifts from his?
Was it awe? What defined the space between him and another during this intimate act?
The writer of John defined it as love. And then later says that others will know that we too follow Jesus if we love. But how - how do we love like that? How do we love with such intimacy? I believe it's about finding that which lies between us. What is our perspective as we love, or attempt to love? Maybe if we work on the perspective, love will work its way through us.
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