Sue cleans floors in a large urban hospital. I watched her go from patient room to patient room. She listened to patients and joked with those who were in the mood. Sue often came out to the desk to help answer a patient’s question. When I commented on her gentle kindness to the often grumpy patients, she replied: “These people are here because they are feeling rotten. I just try to help however I can.”
Debby, a nurse on the same wing, observed our family. As we prepared to leave she said, “I’ll be praying for you.” Two total strangers who I met for less than an hour, both reached out in love. These were not random acts of kindness. They were intentional caring acts which supported and carried us through a time of crisis.
When I read our Bible verse today, I think of Sue and Debby. Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.” John 13: 34. Neither person mentioned God and we didn’t have a deep faith conversation. Yet through their actions they became the arms of Christ, surrounding us with Jesus’ love.
In John 13, we find Jesus says these words right after he has washed the disciple’s feet and right before he goes to the cross. “Just as I have loved you…” is love with action. “Just as I have loved you…” may seem menial like washing feet or cleaning floors. “Just as I have loved you…” may come at a cost.
While the country has focused on the random acts of terror done by the Boston bombers the past two weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed with countless acts of caring. One way we can respond to violence as people of God is to reach out with intentional acts of caring…to strangers and friends, to those with whom we work and those with whom we live, to those injured in the bombing and to those who built the bombs. Because that is how Jesus loves.
Gracious God, thank you for the way your love is alive in the world. Thank you for encircling me with love through so many strangers and friends. Often I don’t notice your love. Other times I’m too busy to give your love. Teach me to love others as Jesus loves. Amen.