A Message from the Pastor’s Heart
“Washing Feet in the Midst of Trials”
In the beautiful and helpful sermon Deacon Williams preached last Sunday from John 14:1-4 concerning “A Prepared Place for a Prepared People” we were reminded to look to the future with the hope of our savior’s present ministry to prepare for us an eternal future. As I reflected on the message, I thought how appropriate it is to look at the upcoming year in the same way especially as it concerns allowing our “hearts not to be troubled.” With our Presidents bills being sabotaged/stalled, our voting rights challenged, democracy being eroded, history being “canceled” and suppressed, and a possible change in political power, not to mention Covid, we can approach the new year with a little fear, anxiety, apathy, and even anger. I must confess I feel these things sometimes along with a little frustration and despair. But what about my actions, my heart, my thoughts, and more importantly my spiritual foundation. Well, that’s why I thought Deacon William's sermon was so helpful - it put things in perspective. As I prepared the scripture reading slide for the service I thought about the context for the exchange between Jesus and Thomas, i.e., “Where was Jesus going?” and read John 13 and the prep story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. It reads:
The Lord’s Supper
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet.
5 Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8 Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20 “Truly, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
What strikes me afresh about Jesus is his humility in the face of abundant persecution. He continues to focus on “service to others rather than focus on self.” What a challenge to the thought “Deny yourself take up your cross and follow him.” In light of what we face in today’s America, it may be a little hard to keep that attitude in light of the present political, social and spiritual context. As Bereans, we pride ourselves on studying the Scriptures and we do right by doing so, but what about our “service to others and to each other.” Are we able to wash the feet of those around us with the heart attitude of Christ the Savior? I don’t know about you, but I’m not going into this year with the posture of being “upon myself” but rather being “below myself.” I wanna go even lower below the limbo pole to be more like Christ to join him in his sufferings - although reluctant I might add. I have no doubt that people, situations, and systems will help me do that. But as for me, I will continue to serve to the best of my ability to wash the feet of the institutions that I serve, the people that I love, the opponents that I fear, and the Lord that I serve. Meet you at the foot of the cross and bring a bucket with water and a towel. He left us an example.