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JN 13: 31-35
5th Sunday of Easter
(Still 'Jumpingly John' till the 2nd S.after Pentecost)

If, like Judas, we walk out on Jesus, we will not live to see Jesus the Christ's Glory. Central to JN's record is the fact that far from being something depicted by countless artists in whiter than whites & gorgeous & glowing golds, Jesus' is glorified in Blood Red. In his Passion & Death. And, in keeping with his whole venture into humanity, '"God has been glorified in him". There is a 'side' of God that is forever Red, too.

I think Jesus' washing his feet was the last straw for Judas. More than any of his other exploits, washing grubby feet showed just how low Jesus was prepared to stoop. Enough is enough! Whatever good there might be in this fellow, he can't be the Messiah! Messiahs don't do that kind of thing. Don't get their hands dirty like that. Maybe that's why the 'glory' the church shows to the world isn't convincing either? But for the opposite reason to Judas': because we don't get our hands & our hearts dirty as Jesus does!

The 'new commandment' & 'love one another' stand or fall together. We can only keep Jesus' new commandment when we have Jesus' new kind of love. That has to come first. Jesus can command anything he likes, but we won't, can't carry it out unless we have his quality of love that equips us to do so. A mistake we keep on making is thinking that laying down the law, i.e. someone's interpretation of The Law, will solve things. Not so. No matter how good & wise a law is (often it's neither!) as Paul puts it in 1COR13, "if I have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol". A bit like someone's turned-up-full- volume car radio blasting us as they race past, the blast more important than the blasted!

When Jesus tells his friends they can't come with him where he's going, (in v.36 he concedes they 'will follow later'), he's illustrating what he's just been saying about the new commandment of love. At this point they literally can't go where he's going because they don't have the love to do so. Not yet. Later they will follow, as we know they do, when their love quotient has been upped to like his.
Until Jesus' love catches up with them - or should that be, 'until they catch up with his love'? - & it takes possession of them, they don't know what he means, any more than we do. No matter how strongly we protest otherwise, in Richard Rohr's words, "the journey remains a spectator sport" [Hope Against Darkness, S.Anthony Messenger Press, Cincinatti, 2001, p.12] until we love as Jesus loves & can therefore go where he goes. With a basin & towel.

It's not going to church, thumping the Bible, preaching our heart out & others' ears off, etc., that show we are Jesus' disciples, but our getting down to the seriously gritty business of loving one another. That's how people know. There's a real glory in that. Even if it's a Red one!