"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1 John 3.16
What struck me today in my devotions is the reciprocal nature of God's love for us in Christ. This was no mere warm, fuzzy feeling, Jesus loves us by sacrificing his life for us. Again, it does not stop there. Immediately the apostle concludes that we should love one another with a similar degree of devotion.
I saw a glimpse of that yesterday at a funeral in Sleat, here on the Isle of Skye. It felt like the entire community had downed-tools to gather around the grieving widow and children, following their man's untimely death in tragic circumstances. Barriers of belief and denomination were set aside in response to a situation which united us all.
It must have occurred to more than me that, if we can be united in grief, can we not operate in harmony without that emotional imperative? After all, the same Christ who expressed his love for us so completely also stipulated that a mark of our appreciation - not to mention the key to our effectiveness as his witnesses - would be our unity.
Does "laying down our lives" involve setting aside lesser loyalties - in the way that happened yesterday in Sleat - in order to reach beyond our natural habitats of tradition and prejudice? There may be good reasons behind our divisions, yet there are surely even better reasons for getting over them...