© Susan Dorothea White
The First Supper, 1988
I was given John 13 to read at our service for Maundy Thursday. “Oh, yup – that one, I got it.”
I set it aside.
Days later in a tough moment, I randomly opened my Bible for a quick word as I sometimes do, and as it opened, my eyes fell on John 13. “Hmm, weird.” I read it through once.
Now again, mere days later, what is today’s Bible passage pushed to me automatically via the Bible app on my phone? John 13.
Guess it’s time to really pay attention.
Much has been said about this great teaching of Jesus. That we are to love one another and follow His example. But as we gather around the table, each of us a Doubter, a Denier, a Betrayer, or another struggling soul who falls short, how do we love ourselves in order to do what He asks?
Knowing what every disciple would go and do in a matter of a few short hours, Jesus washed the feet of each one. This was indeed a powerful lesson in how to be a servant in the world, and how we must love; yet I also believe that in this ritual Jesus offered each man a tangible cleansing of forgiveness – what just might be the most powerful evidence of what love looks like ahead of Good Friday. Jesus washed even Judas’ feet before he dismissed him to “do quickly what you are going to do”. I often wonder what Judas must have felt as Jesus approached him with His basin and towel. Jesus needed Judas to know just how deeply he was loved, even then.
Despite our doubt, anger, procrastination, unforgiveness, worry, discouragement, inaction, busyness, control, fear, judgement — name your poison — our loving and serving others starts with loving ourselves. Our whole selves.
So I’m learning this recipe for loving which I believe Jesus serves us in John 13. Equal parts. . .
Rest Stop. Sit down. You cannot have your feet washed if you are constantly on them.
Receive Allow the Lord to hold in His hands your most worn parts, bunions and all.
Release Let the dirt and grime go; what’s under the toenails has been there a long time.
Repair Trust that a miraculous work is moving up through you.
Renew Know that you’re made clean and whole and deserve to feel refreshed and new.
Return Go offer this loving kindness in whatever form you can to whomever you can.
By Karla Hendrick