In the film, Into the Forest, two young women live with their single father in a remote wooded area during a cataclysmic failure of the world’s electric and cellular power. One awful day the sisters hear their father’s scream in the woods. They rush to his aid and helplessly watch him bleed to death from a chain saw accident. As his life ebbs away, he implores his girls, “Take care of each other.” With his last breath he whispers, “Love one another.”
This finely crafted film then relates the moving story of how these young women sacrifice individual needs and wants for the sake of each other. They not only survive but thrive in the face of many adversities, while many around them perish.
My mentor, Leonard Evans, often told the story of the father who calls his grown children together for a family reunion after many years of separation. He sits at the head of the table and listens to them all praise and thank each other for the times they came to each other’s aid and comfort. After listening to this flow of this “one another” love does the Father say, “Yes, but what about me? Where’s my praise?”
This raises the question: if a church excels in praise and worship of God, (vertical love) but neglects the needs and comfort of each other (horizontal love), do they truly delight the heart of Father God?
Not if we take seriously Jesus last words and actions just before his arrest and death in John’s narrative. Jesus begins by washing his disciple’s feet, urging them to humble themselves in similar fashion in their relationships with each other. He caps it off by giving them his great command. Surprisingly, he doesn’t remind them to love and worship God. Rather, he urges and commands them to love one another.”
What do you think? Do you agree that a good parent wants their kids to offer them their love but a great parent, imitating Jesus, delights as much in the love his children offer each other?
Please join the conversation.