GPS series this week looks at Jesus’ kindness as an irresistible attraction, drawing people into his message and way of life. We might call it “one-anothering” – a daily posture that sees, hears, honors and blesses one another. And that means not just our friends and family, people we want to be around, but whoever shows up in front of us.
In this story from Mark (10:13-16) Jesus stops to really see and hear the folks who actually show up in front him. These folks happen to be children. The disciples scold the children to leave because kids were not the target audience the disciples had in mind. They had more important people for Jesus to meet, more important places for Jesus to go. They didn’t want Jesus to waste his time on children, who didn’t seem to matter in the big scheme of things.
Jesus calls out the disciples, insisting they allow the children to stay right where they are, next to him. Jesus doesn’t pause to calculate whether it’s worth his time to bless these children, or manipulate the optics to further his message or look around for more important people to engage. He stops right then and right there to see the blessing of the human beings in front of him, not the potential audience, the ideal human beings that his disciples were hoping for. Jesus “one-anothered” the children, seeing them fully as persons worthy of his attention and blessing.
Kindness is a powerful and radical posture in the world. One-anothering may sound warm and fuzzy or even sentimental. But the truth is: kindness is a tough practice that requires intentionality, self-discipline, and trust in the One who carries within God’s own heart the person standing right in front of me. It is not a news-grabbing, earth-shattering event, but it will change the world.
I’m challenged by this Jesus-following practice, especially when I’m disappointed that the person who shows up in front of me isn’t who I had in mind. I’m drawn to Jesus for precisely his posture of one-anothering. And, on those days when I can follow Jesus in this, abundant life awaits me, a deeper knowing of God’s love that weaves the universe together than I might have known otherwise.
Let’s try it today. Let’s follow Jesus and one-another together. Amen.