The most synchronized display I have witnessed outside of the Olympics. It was a beautiful thing.

Recently, I stood near the graveside of a woman who had served the Correctional Services Department for many years and observed the funeral proceedings with great interest. It was a sight for sore eyes.

Correctional officers, in full uniform, hitting stride in perfect harmony as they bore the draped casket, containing the corpse of their long-time colleague, to its final resting place. The casket with its pristine finish rested squarely on a human bridge made from pairs of arms outstretched across shoulders, colleagues grasping the shoulders of their colleagues across the way in what could only be described as a hug.

A hug that transports.

Many other officers stood shoulder to shoulder in perfect formation, according to rank, encircling the burial spot and building a solid hedge of comfort that separated the immediate family from well-meaning others.

The solidarity was palpable.

They were trained for this moment. To stand with each other in life and to show the utmost respect in death. If they flinched at all, it escaped my notice.

The deceased was a corporal, so a gun salute was in order. In accordance with tradition, twenty-one shots would be fired toward the heavens, but I turned to leave after number three and, as I walked toward the roadway, the sound of the remaining shots followed me. Frantic birds flew overhead in an effort to make themselves scarce and I broke into a grin.

Solidarity can have explosive consequences.

For The Living

The way our Saviour tells it, there can be a solidarity among the living that produces vibrations on a global scale. That all may know that we are Christ-followers in truth.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35)

Not correctional officers who work to secure law-breakers in cell blocks, but Light-bearers who love well and live to secure the release of those imprisoned by sin.

Christ-followers who have compassion as their hallmark and would not think it strange to “[r]ejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)

Individuals who know how to disagree without being disagreeable, to speak the truth in love, and to use their talent of speech only for that which edifies.

Men, women and children who love so well at home that it naturally spills out on to all with whom they interact in the streets. Timely showers of blessing in a world gone mad.

That all may know.

But Why ‘New’?

God’s people have always been required to love God with their whole being and their neighbours as themselves, so wherein lies the ‘newness’ of this command?

as I have loved you, that ye also love one another…

As I have loved you.

Now that He has shown us, in the flesh, what this business of love looks like, He calls us to love just like that.

Self-sacrificing love for the benefit of our fellowmen, with no prejudice or ulterior motives. To the glory of God.


As I have loved you.

That all may know.

May God help us all.


Image source: McLac2000 on Pixabay (Creative Commons)


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