by Melanie Gibbons
Apr 5, 2012
Several years ago, I went to visit my grandmother in rural Virginia. The timing of the trip happened to coincide with the annual Love Feast held at her Church of the Brethren congregation. A Love Feast is a celebration and remembrance of Jesus washing the disciples feet and the Lord’s Supper. She was so excited for me to attend this special event with her.
I wish I could remember more of the details of the evening. Today, reading the lessons for Maundy Thursday, I was reminded of this visit and, in particular, the foot washing. Grandmother washed my feet. I washed hers.
In John chapter 13, we read:
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
I am thankful for this memory, for this tradition that put flesh and bone to the recounting of the event in John 13. For me, it’s also an example of my family’s emphasis of serving others. Not because we’re somehow better, but in response to the incredible, humble, sacrificial love Christ gave first to us.
I am thankful that LWR’s values echo my own in so many ways, and my work here gives me an opportunity every day to remember this inheritance of humble service and to live it out.
Sometimes, foot washing involves a basin and a towel. Other times, it could look like an LWR staff team spending months listening to a community in preparation for a new project.
Or like one community sharing their knowledge about building a water system with a neighboring community on a mountain in the Philippines.
Michael Card recorded a song about this passage in John, about Jesus’ “call to community” that empowers us to daily “take up the basin and the towel.”
I am thankful to be part of this global community, along with each of you. I am thankful for your faithful service that inspires me, and reminds me that each small thing we do is a way of responding to Christ’s call to us this Maundy Thursday and every day.
Thank you, God, for your example, your love, your sacrifice. Please strengthen us to answer your call to wash one another’s feet, not only during Holy Week but every day. Amen!