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My Brother and My Friend

He is three years younger than me, this brother of mine and we share history, starting with the day of his birth when I was banished to the farthest reaches of the house, because I had measles; a rocky start to our relationship!

It's funny to think of it now, because he is 6 foot 3; but when he was small, I once chased a boy that was older and bigger than both of us, around a field, because he was picking on Robert. I had a dog leash in my hand and swung it around my head in circles as I ran after him like some medieval warrior woman.

We both know that we will always be there for each other and I can count on him to tell me the truth on any question.

Robert doesn't put anyone's faith down, but "spirituality" doesn't factor as much in his life as in mine. He rarely talks about God and I'm not really sure what he thinks about him. I've done a lot of thinking about that of late.

He is the main carer for our mum, along with a small flock of ladies from Helping Hands. While I was with them for two weeks in May, I watched...

Mum's toes grow close and tight together, some of them overlapping; and when she has her weekly shower, the ladies who care for her don't pay attention to her feet. So each week, Robert washes Mum's feet.

One day I watched him doing this, kneeling down in front of her, carefully washing one foot at a time, then drying them gently with a towel and massaging them with heavy duty moisturizer.

His reminded me of another washer of feet--one I claim to follow but don't always represent as visibly.

I recently heard someone at work speak on 1 John 1:1, describing the verse as being about a "tactile presentation of the gospel."

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

My work friend said that when we say, "I shared 'the gospel' with my friend today," we usually mean that we shared verbally. He said, in fact, everything that we do is gospel because Christ changes what we do and how we do things. Or he should.

I found myself thinking about how I have represented Christ to my brother. Not always very well, I concluded.

I have been headstrong, proud and arrogant; easily irritated and unappreciative of who he is.

This year I saw him through different eyes. I saw his humility, love and tenderness as he cared for our mum.

I've always liked the maxim attributed to St. Francis of Assisi "Preach the gospel. And if necessary, use words."

We need to be prepared to share God's Word with people who are curious and hungry to know him, but preaching the gospel may have as much to do with gentleness of heart and grace of life, as the words we loudly proclaim.


Joyful Fox said…
Such a beautiful tribute to your brother. He sounds like someone I would want to know.

What a reminder to be humble, to serve, to love.

I too have been challenged by my attitude of love, attitude of service. Oh to be more like Jesus. To love as He loved when He walked this globe.
Angcat said…
Hi Belinda,
What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing about your brother. From the picture you don't look alike, but I'm sure there are similarities.

Yes, living as Christ is what it's all about, then we have the right to give the reason for the hope that we have, when we are asked.
That requires so much more than just talking.
Lord Jesus help us all to be your hands and heart extended.
Marilyn said…
Straight to my heart, Belinda!
I recently read the book "unChristian," which challenges us today on this very topic.

I am all too familiar with that cringing feeling that comes with remembering some of the ways I have 'communicated' the gospel in the past.

Cringing that ends in self-flaggelation is no good.
But cringing that leads to repentance that leads to stepping out in a new way will have divine results. God is pleased in our growth AND is able to make even those past blunderings bear fruit.

Press on in the new light given! LOVE the foot care story and mental image. Thanks for that.

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