Monday, February 04, 2013

What's your symbol?

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13.34-35 ESV

The cross is the most recognizable symbol of Christianity. No, it doesn't always represent Jesus, but if it wasn't for Jesus it wouldn't be much of a symbol. It has adorned steeples, shields, hospitals, emergency response organizations, vampire-hunters, necks...

...and at one time, my chest.

Yes, one of those crazy things I did working with youth in my younger days was shaving a cross in my chest-hair. The first time I did it was at Kanakuk in 1987, when I shaved out a cross. Then a few years later I shaved everything BUT a cross. That was really cool.

And yes, I have a picture. I suppose I could post it if you really wanted...

Nearly everyone in world recognizes the cross as a symbol of Christianity. And it's a fitting symbol, what with the sacrifice Jesus made on it on our behalf and everything. He called us to pick one up (symbolically? figuratively? literally?) and follow him.

But if the cross is the greatest symbol of Jesus, then there's a close second. One that I've never seen sold in James Avery, never seen anyone put in their family crest. It's not on the steeples of any church. But it should be.

That symbol? The towel.

In the story I quoted above, Jesus has just washed the disciples' feet. And told them that if he's really their Master then they will do the same (Jn 13.14). And just before they walk out the door and head to the garden, he tells them once more: Listen, I'm about to be gone. We've been together for a couple of years now, and let me just tell you plainly. I've got a new command. Love each other. Love each other with a "wrap a towel around your waist and get your hands dirty" kind of love. Forget status, forget success. Forget position, except to be on your knees washing each others' feet. That kind of love.

If I could just follow that one command...

So when you pick up a towel, think about Jesus. Then think about who you need to love. Who is your "other"? Who has dirty feet around you?

Let's make a towel a symbol of our love.

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