April 24, 2016
At a retreat I once attended, I found myself struck by a question asked by the retreat leader during morning devotions. I, like many others in my group, had come to the retreat carrying heavy burdens. After helping us recognize those burdens, our retreat leader asked us, “When have you felt that someone was standing by you?”
For the twelve disciples, that someone was Jesus. He treated them and the others who came his way with great patience and respect. When the disciples doubted, Jesus kept giving them reasons to believe. When others would have left them, Jesus reminded them that he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. When he should have sat on a throne, Jesus got to his knees and washed his disciples’ feet.
“As I have loved you . . .” This is part of Jesus’ new command to his disciples. “As I have loved you . . .” How have you felt God’s love in your life? How has God stood by you?
A note of encouragement that comes at a time when we struggle to believe in ourselves; a friend who, despite the poor way we might treat him or her, keeps coming back and is willing to forgive; a door that opens when we’re sure that all the doors are locked shut: maybe you’ve felt God’s love in a way such as these.
“As I have loved you,” Jesus tells us, “you also should love one another” (John 13:34). As we reflect on God’s love, God’s grace, God’s support in our lives, can we turn it around? Can we stand by others just as God has stood by us?
Garritt Fleming, pastor, Freedom Moravian Church,