For 23 March 2020: Fourth Monday of Lent
Updated: Mar 25
Read: John 13:1-20
I wasn’t able to spend time on the front porch this morning. The snow and cold from the night kept me inside. Standing at the window, I notice the tulip tree, dressed in snow, is beginning to bedeck herself with leaves and blossoms. What processes are happening beneath this blanket of snow that awakens this beautiful tree? When Jesus knelt before his disciples and washed their feet, what processes were happening beneath this blanket of service?
We are in a very odd time as a nation, as a planet! What unseen processes will this unleash? The situation is forcing congregations and pastors to find new ways to connect. The situation is calling on all our better natures. This will most definitely change us, but how? I wish I knew, but I believe it will.
Jesus act of washing his disciples’ feet is usually discussed on Holy Thursday. I bring it forward today because I think it needful for us to remember and consider. What processes did Jesus set in motion which echo still, today?
Jesus set in place the example of service, even in the humblest of manners. He became a servant. He took the position and role of a slave, even. The church has continued to teach this example, even when the church as institution and individual members failed to live up to it. One of the processes which Jesus teaches us beneath there surface is the lesson of humility. The Savior of all kneels before his friends and washes their feet.
My dad has unattractive feet. They need extra care. Because of his condition, he is unable to care for them. All of us – my sister, my mother, a home aid, cousins, and I – have all washed and cared for his feet. During one of my trips home, this passage from John 13 was fresh in my mind as a knelt looking after my dad’s feet for him before putting him to bed. I couldn’t help but think of the passage. As I knelt and treated his feet and put on his socks, I had this moment of realization. In this story, it looks as if the “Christ” figure is me, but really, it’s not. I couldn’t help but think about what I have said throughout my ministry: Greet each one as if they are the Christ. For me, caring for my dad’s ugly feet and helping him was my caring for Risen Christ in my dad. This is the lesson for us to learn, again: We must see the risen Christ in each other.
In these days of social distancing, we are still called to serve in the name of Jesus, the Christ. We are still commissioned to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, …” (Matthew 28:19a NRSV). How we do that in these days of social distancing is unclear. Technology helps, but I can’t help but wonder what amazing work of the Holy Spirit this will unleash as we find new ways to be faithful followers of Jesus. God is at work among us even in this uncertain time.