The gap between the “ideal” and what is seen in practice can be frustrating and stifling. This is especially true with Jesus’ teachings: “Love one another, just as I have loved you”, and “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” We all long to see this Christian ideology being practiced, but it remains an elusive dream. How can anyone do as Jesus did, to love someone to the point of laying down one’s life?
Perhaps, ‘laying down one’s life’ is not meant to be the target, but the direction! Look at how John the apostle recorded Jesus’ last Passover meal with his disciples:
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus … loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing… he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (portions from Jn. 13:1-15)
As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, John saw that as one demonstration of Jesus ‘loving them to the end.’ Laying down our lives for a friend may be too great of an ideal for any of us to do, but washing his feet is certainly achievable. If we continue to wash his feet, and do so long enough, we might someday love him enough to lay down our lives. For now, we need not to worry about whether we could match Jesus. We just need to focus on serving others. If the quality of an ideology prevents us from moving forward, we may perhaps have misunderstood its purpose.
On the Chinese-speaking side, the Blessing Group ministry provides a framework that requires team members to commit to one another - contributing their time, gifts and efforts for the common goal of making and training disciples. This tight team spirit serves as the platform on which we explore and practice ways to support one another, and may, in some way, inspire us love one another as Jesus exemplified.