by Bob Wickizer

Love One Another
Rev. Bob Wickizer
John 14:15-21
May 21, 2000

A college professor of religion once gave a final examination for her New Testament ethics course in a novel way. The students were warned ahead of time that the exam would be graded strictly on a pass-fail basis. As the inevitable complaints arose about the grading system for the final, the professor simply smiled and told them that with ethical decisions in life either you do or you don't.

So with only those clues the students busied themselves preparing for their final examination in the usual way - summarizing the ethical teachings of Jesus and comparing them against the teachings of thinkers from Aristotle to Elie Wiesel. On the day of the exam, the students found a note taped to the door to their usual classroom stating that the examination was being held in another classroom that happened to be a long walk across campus. Because of all the construction there, the students really had only one practical route to walk to the new examination room so off they marched one by one and in small groups.

Along the way they first encountered a skateboarding student who had fallen and twisted his ankle badly. You could see the dark bruise forming on the student's leg already. Under the beautiful vine-covered stone archways between buildings they passed a homeless person seated at a table asking for contributions to support a local shelter. As they crossed a parking lot near closer to the new exam room another professor was desperately trying to break into his car where he had locked his keys by accident. His son had just been severely injured in a baseball game and the professor needed to go to the hospital to be there for his son.

Now here's a test for all of us. Guess which students passed the examination? [pause] The ones who stopped at any of the staged accidents, mishaps and pleas for help. The ones who showed up for the examination at the new location simply failed because they ...

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