Day 1

A New Command

from the One Another reading plan

John 13:31-35, John 15:1-17, Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18

BY Jessica Lamb

One evening in high school, I decided to make a quilt. So with mediocre sewing skills, my preconceived notions of the quilting process, and no further research, I got to work. Concert t-shirts, jeans, scraps of silk, an old volleyball jersey—I cut every spare piece of fabric I could find into messy, uneven squares. After arranging them into a haphazard pattern, I started sewing. The process did not go smoothly. I knew nothing of pre-washing fabrics, ironing seams, or how different materials would work alongside one another. But after months of tears and fighting with my sewing machine, I wrangled the material into something resembling a quilt top that my grandmother mercifully completed with a backing. 

The finished product has no business existing. It’s not much to look at, and it certainly fails to meet even the most generous standard for visual appeal. But to this day, I keep it in a basket next to my couch, carefully folded alongside the more meticulously crafted quilts I’ve inherited. It’s precious to me because, in spite of its flaws and shortcomings, it’s my own. 

My mind kept returning to my quilt as our team worked on this reading plan about life in Christian community. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like life with other believers is often easier read about than lived. The family of God is messy. We’re a disparate group of individuals from every imaginable nation, ethnicity, family circumstance, and political affiliation. Each one of us has a story, and we bring our own history of wounds and wounding to the family table. 

Thankfully, this isn’t new or surprising to God. From the first disciples and the early Church to our current cultural moment, the body of Christ has always been made up of believers who have no real reason for living in community together outside of the one reason that changes everything. Jesus brings each one of us mismatched pieces into something meticulously crafted and beautiful: His people, the body of Christ. 

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.”
—John 13:34

Over the next two weeks, we’ll read more of these “one another” commands. Each one describes what it looks like to love our brothers and sisters in Christ because of how we are loved by Him. These relationships are a means of radically reflecting Christ’s transforming love to each other and to the world around us. 

Learning to live well together with other believers is a good and worthwhile mission, even (or especially) when it isn’t easy. No matter where this day’s reading finds you, whether in a season of flourishing community or one of struggle and searching, my prayer is that we will be both challenged and encouraged together through these series of commands. 

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274 thoughts on "A New Command"

  1. Shelly Stubblefield says:

    Love is the key, Jesus wants us to understand how important this command is. Such a good reminder these days.

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