Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | April 23, 2013


Just about everyone in America with access to a television has kept up with the stories and images of the bombing in Boston and its aftermath.  Fear, death, injury, help, courage, manhunt, chaos, lockdown, relief, end.

The stories have been riveting. They have been moving.  They have been frightening.

They have also expressed deep love.

In the seconds after the explosion, people responded with first aid.

Residents and businesses along the marathon route welcomed complete strangers in, providing a place for runners to rest and rehydrate, lending cell phones and computers for them to contact their families and friends.

Hospitals that had prepared for running injuries had to open trauma centers.  They saved lives, kept loved ones informed.

Neighbors checked on each other during the lockdown and shared what they had.

When life comes to a standstill, opportunities open.

Whether it is a horrific accident in Texas, an earthquake in China, or a bomb in Baghdad or Boston, love is what’s called for.

Jesus, only hours before his arrest and execution, saw terror looming on the horizon.  At the meal he shared with his friends, he could have told them all sorts of things about being careful, staying away from danger.  Instead, he said this:  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As we are still living into our Easter faith, may it be so with all of us.lilies copyright


© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2013


  1. I think Jesus’s words quoted in this blog entry sums up virtually the whole of Christianity. I said virtually; I haven’t forgotten the entirety of VPC’s mission statement. The words are even more meaningful and impactful when they are sung. Listen to the lyrics: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” You are already hearing the musical accompaniment as you mouth the words. (No, I am not recruiting for Elizabeth’s choir!)

    For almost a year now, I have been feeling the love of others (the long-time Al-Anon stalwarts) and trying to share my love with those lost souls who walk into Al-Anon each week for the first time. Typically, they are reeling from the alcohol or drug use and abuse of a loved one. Invariably, they are seeking something that they cannot precisely identify. When they try to speak and convey their hurt and confusion, their anger and even rage, you sense that they are bleeding. You can almost see the blood dripping down their bodies, just as I imagine Jesus’s family, friends, and disciplines, as well as the soldiers, witnessed the drops of blood oozing from his wounds and trickling from the crown of thorns. If they return a couple times or more, a metamorphosis often takes place as the love from the Al-Anon veterans begins to envelope them and their sage advice—always compassionately expressed, but sometimes terribly frank—starts to sink in.

    Beyond the terrorists’ bombs and the electronically-directed drones, beneath the getting and spending of most of our daily lives, there are an incredibly large number of small groups and little communities that remain shielded from the gaze of the TV camera or the lead type of the newspaper—these “little churches” are where the spirit and letter of Jesus’s command are being honored and played out somewhere every day. That’s where good Christians, whether they think of themselves by that label or not, are showing their love of one another in times of need and torment. That’s where Jesus’s example is being faithfully followed. Thanks, Melissa, for reminding us!

  2. Yes. Jesus could have said a lot of things to them. His final instructions, you know. But this is what he said, “Love one another.” And loving one another, especially in the context of washing their feet, well, that really is the best message he could have left them with, wasn’t it?

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