Read John 13:1-17
This story of the last supper in John’s Gospel recalls a remarkable event not mentioned elsewhere: Jesus performs the duty of a slave, washing the feet of his disciples and urging them to do the same for one another.
Back in 2003, I led a teaching moment at GobinSadan, a World Religions Peace Village in India, where all peoples of faith could worship freely. On the last night of our twelve-day travel immersion together, we gathered around a candle lit statue of Jesus. I read these words from John, and then invited all to participate in the act of foot washing. For many this was the first time that they had heard of this story. For others it was the first time that they were actually participating in the foot washing ritual. In my western religious experience, I assumed each would have their feet washed once. To my surprise, as many wept openly, my feet and the feet of all those gathered, were washed twenty-seven times, as each person took turns doing this for everyone in the circle. A people representing the religions of the world washing one another’s feet. What would our world look like if we the church raised generations of foot washers?
One of my very favorite short reads is a book entitled: “Tuesdays with Morrie.” In this book Mitch Albom discusses matters of life and death with his former college professor. In these final day conversations the two discuss forgiveness (including self-forgiveness) and love; the latter, Albom says, follows no specific formula. “Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.” When Jesus realizes that his hour has come, he speaks about foot washing love as of ultimate importance. If you were giving your last lecture, teaching moment, word of life, what would you want to say? With whom would you share it?
Acts of Love, Foot washing, communities pouring themselves out for the sake of the world, this is the LIFE that God intends for. May it be so in each of our lives.
Prayer: Holy God, source of all love, Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us. Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as Jesus was a servant of all, Amen.