“For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”-John 13:15
In modern times, we are losing touch with the notion of apprenticing, believing that we can learn all we need from Google, YouTube, and a six-month internship. Current educational systems are designed to teach facts to large groups, but are less able to instruct people in how to really live.
Not surprisingly, the didactic approach has infiltrated our churches too. Sanctuaries are structured much like classrooms with chairs facing forward toward the podium where a leader instructs the group. Many places even use PowerPoint. The implicit assumption is that mere exposure to the spoken word will work in our hearts, leading to Christian behavior. To be honest, I suspect that it rarely does. Orthodoxy (right thinking) does not necessarily, or even typically lead to orthopraxy (right action).
Jesus was no modern day preacher; he apprenticed his followers, living, loving, and serving in real life. He did preach to large crowds, but he dedicated considerable effort to apprenticing a small band of women and men who spent their daily lives with him. When he said, “I am your example. You should do just as I have done to you,” he was talking about much more than just washing feet.
Jesus, you tell us that you are our model for how to live. You did not come only to talk at people, but by your example, to show us how to love. Help us to know not only what you taught and did, but to actually model our lives to follow your example as closely as we can, by the power of your indwelling spirit. Amen.