‘Little children, I shall be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.
I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples. Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Now you cannot follow me where I am going, but later you shall follow me.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.‘ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘In all truth I tell you, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’
In Catholic school, one of my favorite hymns to sing was “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”.
Yes, I was a young saint.
Not even close…
It was just one of those church songs you could sing real loud and purposefully poorly—and get away with it. The Sisters of the O.S.B. would never come down hard on a group of young men belting out church hymns, no matter cheeky they were trying to be.
Still, somehow, the message of the hymn sunk in and stuck with the former class clown as I matured into responsible (???) adulthood. The message of living a Christian life. The message of showing the world I am a faithful being by my actions and not just by where I sit for an hour every Sunday morning.
In the passage from John, Jesus has just finished the meal and washed the feet of the Apostles. He is telling them He will soon leave them. He is trying to throw as much advice to them as possible in an almost panicked way, like the parents going on a dinner date and leaving their kids at home to watch themselves for the very first time.
In the midst of the confusion, Jesus, in the way only He can do, distills the storm of thought whirling in His head into a simple concept, “I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples.”
Beautiful and simple. That’s Jesus.
So there you go, Jesus tells us to not only talk the talk of being a Christian but to also walk the walk of being a Christian. Show the world who we are and where we stand. If we fail to do so, are we not “disowning” Jesus, just as Peter did?
My goal is to be better at walking the walk. I want to be a better everyday Christian and be recognized as His disciple. It will take work, I know, but the payoff will be worth every ounce of effort.
As the song says, “We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord…Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Copyright © 2015,Mike Hays