How to Love as He Loved Us

On Monday, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire, causing massive damage and destroying its’ iconic spire. Onlookers were horrified and heartbroken as firefighters attempted to stop the blaze.

Watching footage of the destructive flames, I thought of all the hard work that went into building that beautiful church. The stone, the wood, the talent and artistry, the sweat. It stood for hundreds and hundreds of years, renovated and updated as it needed to be, but in the end it didn’t last.

Although I grew up in France as a Missionary Kid, it’s been eighteen years since I set foot in the famous cathedral. As I watched the flames engulf the iconic building, I was reminded of how far removed I am from the country I once considered home.

I thought of fires raging closer to my current home: friends who are currently losing their marriages, friends who are losing their children to cancer, friends who are battling mental illnesses, friends who, for whatever the reason, are watching the life they built go up in flames.

Today is Maundy Thursday, a day we set aside during Holy Week to commemorate the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus. On this day, He gave us a new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34). Even when it’s something as humiliating and dirty and gross as washing your neighbor’s feet. Jesus could not have been more clear, or more explicit.

French billionaires have already pledged $700 million dollars to restore the Notre Dame cathedral. I don’t have that kind of money to throw around, but I take stock of what I do have:

An overflowing pantry
A car
Time in my schedule
A clean bill of health
Various skills and expertise

I see fires all around me, some catastrophic, some just starting to gain momentum. Friends and neighbors I dearly love are struggling. Today, and every day, let us answer the call to serve and love as He has served and loved us.

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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