FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK
In the 13th chapter of John's gospel Jesus shares these words with his disciples:
"Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will Look for me; and as I said to the Jews, so I now 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."
Jesus knew his time on earth was coming to an end. He understood how painful the following days would be for his followers. He knew their hearts would break, they would be afraid, I supposed he even knew they would run and hide. In these final moments of clam before the storm he gives them a new commandment, "As I have loved you, you also should love one another."
His actions that evening, humbly washing each of their dusty, dirty feet showed them the kind of love he meant. Love ground in service. Love overflowing with humility. Love that saw the needs of the other.
Over the course of the next several days Jesus continued to show how he loved them, and us. He was willing to put it all on the line. What Jesus did wasn't just for those he liked, those who were 'good enough', those who managed to keep the law, or those who hadn't sinned. God's love, shown through Jesus on the cross, is for everyone.
And that's the kind of love we are to have for one another. That's how everyone will know that we are his disciples, through love that is marked.
If the layers are peeled away and the initial warm welcome has passed, is this the kind of love people will see in us? Will they see people who love God? Will they see people who are willing to sacrifice for others? Will they see people who are willing to forgive others?
In the afterglow of Easter let us not forget that we have a high calling to live and love as Jesus showed us. We are the body of Christ, we have chosen to follow the way of the Cross, and that means we have chosen to love one another. May that be what everyone sees when they encounter the folks of First Baptist Church!