Washing Feet

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
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John 13:5 – After that, [Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (NIV)

Recently, in the Sunday School class that I teach, we were watching a clip from the movie "Entertaining Angels". It tells the story of Dorothy Day, who started a homeless shelter in the slums of New York City during the Great Depression. It's a wonderful story of how a sinner becomes a saint in modern times, and is almost the equivalent of St. Francis of Assisi's conversion and ministry of compassion.

The scene we watched shows Dorothy and her associate, Peter Maurin, washing the feet of a homeless old man. Gently, they take off his shoes to reveal soiled, bruised, and blistered feet. They carefully wash the feet clean, and then, Peter does something unexpected. He takes off his only pair of shoes and hands them over to the homeless man. The scene ends with Dorothy asking Peter what he will now do for shoes.

Washing someone's feet is very humbling for both the owner of the feet and the washer. When I read about Jesus washing His disciples' dirty feet, I am both surprised and a bit shocked. Why should the Lord of all creation stoop so low as to act like a common servant? Why don't the disciples stop Him, so that they can wash His weary feet?

And then I remember Who Jesus is and feel His compassion wash over me. If the King of kings becomes a servant to His followers, then I must also learn to be a servant in His kingdom. I may never aspire to be a wonderful servant of Christ like Dorothy, but I can decide to serve Christ each day of my life. Instead of wanting to be a charismatic leader, I need to learn to be more of a compassionate servant.

Wherever we find ourselves today and in whomever's company we end up, let's attempt to be servants of Jesus, compassionate caregivers, and humble followers, so that people will see less of us and more of Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, washing the feet of others is not something that we naturally want to do. We all have trouble with humility and service, esteem and pride. Help us today to become less of ourselves and more of You. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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