By Ellen Pollock
New Covenant UMC – Congregational Care
The Villages, FL
I wish I could count the number of times my mother asked me to wash my face. It was one of those things I absolutely detested. Make your bed – check! Brush your teeth – check! Wash your face – ehhhhhhh.
Personally, it wasn’t about being clean, but it was about the sensation of water on my face. I couldn’t stand it! But when presented to me in a practical way, I finally came around and listened to my mother. I would have been absolutely mortified to be perceived as not clean!
In our scripture reference, Jesus brings out the towel and basin to prepare to wash the disciples’ feet. This unsavory job was usually reserved for the servants in the house. Jesus washing their feet was just not done! While he is performing this task, he was communicating the message of being clean was also likened to the acceptance of him.
Jesus is explaining to his disciples the “real” story of being made clean. He wants to connect to their hearts and their souls, and he is displaying the beautiful act of washing their feet as an example. Becoming the servant, and making their feet clean, Jesus communicates a message of love, of compassion, of hospitality, of acceptance and so much more. He is engaging their souls to receive his offer of these gifts, as he demonstrates his love. Jesus is the true servant leader. He shows us how to act and how to receive the gift of love and freedom in him.
Prayer: Gracious God, I don’t always understand what you are showing me. Help me to see and know more clearly the amazing gift of love you have for each one of us. Let me receive wholly what you offer freely. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Questions for Discussion/Reflection:
- What about you? Would you have understood what Jesus was telling them?
- What would be the uncomfortable parts of washing someone’s feet?
- How would you have responded if Jesus wanted to wash your feet?