March 15, 2020 – Footwashing, Share the Love, John 13
Share the Love
Quite a few years ago, Cathy and I were attending a church in Stoney Creek, and were part of a small group ministry. The idea, I know, was (amongst other things) to provide a strong sense of more intimate community within a fairly large congregation. Connecting well with a few, as a response to being lost or hidden ‘in the herd’.
I enjoyed small groups. Lots of laughter, good conversation and prayer, and developing friendships.
In one of these groups, there was a time together that I will never forget.
I imagine the leader was talking about this passage from John 13, where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. It’s interesting that I can’t really remember the leader’s words – but I clearly remember his actions and my feelings that followed.
He took out a basin of water, and a washcloth, and went through the group, and washed … our hands! Not our feet. Our hands.
And I remember going through the thoughts of, “No. No. No. Not my feet!”, before he started. “This is crazy!”, I was thinking. “What’s the point? How do I find myself in these goofy moments?” Not the best thoughts to have.
Then, I remember feeling awkward and resistant as the leader prepared to begin, and then oddly relieved that it would only be my hands, rather than my feet.
And yet, when it came to be my turn, I started feeling once again, resistant and awkward. I felt like I didn’t belong in this moment. Somehow, the spiritual truth behind it all was dawning on me. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I felt unworthy. Unworthy? Did Peter feel this way at the last supper? Did he feel he wasn’t worthy to have Jesus serve him? That makes sense to me.
And then he began to wash my hands … and I went from feeling unworthy – to feeling helpless like a child – to being humbled – to accepting what was happening – to being at peace.
A wave of peace came over me, recognizing within myself that this is Jesus … His love for me … His acceptance of me.
And then all thoughts stopped, and I think I just sat in peace – and as I look back, can say I was in His presence.
I felt … loved. The washing took a few moments. The memory has lasted a lifetime.
John 13: 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
May you receive the cleansing and love of Jesus, and allow His Spirit to lead you to love others, as He has loved you.
And go in peace.