The rhythms of life are soothing for us. Jesus and his disciples were living in a moment of rhythm and tradition. It’s been an interesting week, crowds loving Jesus… pretty normal, Pharisees hating Jesus…pretty normal, the Passover… ahhhh tradition.
Much like our family traditions, nothing feels better than that point of gathering. Traditional foods, Grandpa reading the (Christmas story for me) the traditional words, remembering God’s provision, sharing it with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc… It’s Thanksgiving in Israel. No matter what has gone on this week, we’re gathering tonight with our master, the Messiah. It’s going to be a great time to gather. He’s probably going to say something I won’t understand!! But it’s all good!
You can handle a lot of things in life when your home is a safe refuge from the storm around you. That was always my hope, prayer and goal for my kids growing up. A place to be yourself, let your hair down, discuss freely, speak about the Lord when we lie down, rise up, or walk along the road.
But just like raising my children, some instruction was required. Don’t play ball in the house, don’t spoil your dinner, don’t treat you sibling so horribly(or your mother) and most of all wash each others feet. You know it makes sense that this was overlooked. You are having your meal in a space you borrowed, the usual system isn’t in place. Jesus used the opportunity to teach a lesson, one of his very last. I imagine my last things I say and do will be done with intention. Jesus never overlooked a good opportunity to get in a good lesson.
Washing feet, a job reserved for the lowest person in the household, a tradition to bless people walking on dusty roads. I can’t help but think of my hikes in Colorado and the great joy of being finished and finding a cold stream to soak my feet after a long hard climb. But everyone knows this task is for the least, the last, and certainly not me. Jesus steps up and does the unthinkable, assume the position of the low to serve others. Not just orthodoxy(something you should know you should do), but orthopraxy(correct practice of the thing you know you should do).
When he finished washing their feet in John 13 hear his words…
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me Teacher and Lord and rightly so for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things(orthodoxy: correct knowing), you will be blessed if you do them(orthopraxy: correct doing).”
Thank you Lord that who you are and what you do, never has a double standard. Thank you for being a role model who served even up to the moment of death watching out for the needs of your mother and the thief on the cross with you. Thank you for serving us and help that selfless love help me see how to walk with my neighbor, family, friends and even my enemies. Thank you for clean feet, but more importantly thanks for a new heart. Amen.