‘Last Supper Lessons’ Meditations: 6. Me???
Jn 13:14“you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Oh blow! He wants me to be a servant too! That doesn’t come very naturally. Servants have to do what they’re told, don’t they? Do this, do that. But didn’t Jesus later say they were no longer servants but friends? (Jn 15:15) Oh my goodness! Real friends wash one another’s feet – help them get cleaned up and don’t say, “Oh dear, look at your feet, you are a real mess,” but instead get on their knees before them – with prayer, humility, empathy and loving acceptance. Wow this washing-feet attitude opens a Pandora’s Box of things he calls me to do and be. I didn’t see that coming! OK, if I am going to learn all the other stuff in the Last Supper teaching, I’d better start here with a little bit of attitude readjustment.
In the opening verses of this series we saw Jesus in control, Jesus aware of what was going on, Jesus aware of what had to happen and so Jesus preparing his disciples to face their new life ahead, a life without his physical presence. There is going to come talk about relationship with the Father, there is going to come a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit, all the big dynamic spiritual issues that we might expect from one who said to a questionable Samaritan woman at a well, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (Jn 4:24)
Yes, we can go along with ‘spiritual language’ for that can give us a bit of a buzz, but instead, right at the beginning of this amazing ‘discourse’, we find something very different, very practical, very unnerving. In fact the more ‘spiritual’ we think of our ‘religion’ the more uncomfortable it is. Walk into the ‘big’ churches, the ‘successful’ churches, where deacons troop out of the minister vestry, all wearing suits, ladies sit in the pews or on the chairs in nice dresses, maybe even flowery hats and then imagine Jesus coming into the building and handing out towels and a gentle instruction to the ‘smart people’ to “go to the back rows and wash the feet of those who are there.”
I have lost count of the deacons meetings or leadership meetings I have sat through over the years, but I don’t think I have ever seen an item on the agenda, “How we can wash the feet of the most needy in our congregation.” ‘Suits’ may be the name of an American TV series, but it can also be shorthand for the mentality of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, which was one of looking down on other people, never getting down on your knees before other people. Perhaps a question we need to introduce is, “How can I serve you, what can I do for you?”