"Feet Washing 101"

For a Sunday when half the church family was out with whatever nasty sinus infection eventually turned into bronchitis for me, we had an amazingly special, beautiful day together in worship!

Seriously, tons of people were home sick, blowing their noses on hundreds of tissues and coughing their lungs out.  I myself didn’t have much of a voice even as late as Saturday, but then the antibiotics finally kicked in and I was able to teach and preach well on Sunday (or as close to “well” as my preaching and teaching ever get).  This week, we focused on service -- on living out our faith by rolling up our sleeves, getting dirt under our fingernails, and actively, consciously demonstrating God’s love to those around us by serving those around us in His name. 

See, on that last Thursday before that last, hard Friday, before that first Resurrection Sunday, Jesus knelt down and washed His disciples’ feet specifically because He wanted to show them “the full extent of his love” (John 13:1).  Traditionally, the Church has called that day, “Maundy Thursday” -- though, traditionally, most Christians have no idea what that word even means.  It’s actually a linguistic corruption of the Latin word, “mandatum” (meaning “commandment”), and refers to the fact that it was on that last Thursday, at the Last Supper, that Jesus gave His last great commandment to His disciples before He went to the cross -- “My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Thus, a number of churches have taken over the years to having literal “foot washing” services on Maundy Thursday, which I think can be wonderful, beautiful times of tactile appreciation for one another in the family of God... but which often have very little to do with what Jesus was actually doing that evening (technically making that another gentle corruption on our part).  As a tangible, accessible metaphor for what He was going to do for the whole world the next day on the cross, Jesus descended to the dirt, took on the nature of a servant, and washed the worst parts off of people who arguably didn’t deserve His humility.  He consciously, actively demonstrated that He cared about them by serving them in the lowest, most unpleasant way -- not to debase Himself, but to show just how much God loves each and every one of His children.  Every one of His children, because Jesus washed Judas’ feet as well that evening...

So our people were asked to pray, and then to go to anyone whom the Lord laid on their hearts to approach, asking them how they needed someone to serve them this week.  Maybe they needed help cleaning their house, or going through paperwork, or watching their children, or taking them to the store, or maybe they just need someone to sit down and interactively pray with them about something that’s burdening their heart -- whatever we can tangibly do to demonstrate God’s willingness to meet our needs, even at the most basic level. 

I personally had the blessing of being part of blessing someone in a way that brought him to tears... which brought me to tears... which brought both of us closer to the Lord... which was pretty much the whole point of the day.

How can you step up to serve someone else this week, as an act of worship?  Not just to be nice and helpful, but to actively and verbally share that you’re trying to show them how much God loves them and wants to reach their hearts?

Maybe spend a moment today and pray about that...

Maybe spend a moment every day and pray about that...