Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Word for Wednesday: 8 April 2009 Edition

(This is actually posted Tuesday night; I certainly won't have the opportunity in the morning.)

Maundy Thursday is coming up and is on my mind today; it's observed in my church with footwashing and communion, combined in the Love Feast. From John (13:3-17):
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, rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, girded Himself about. 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. And so He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter." 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." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." 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." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."

And 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? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you should also do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is the one who is sent greater than the one who sends him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."
At the center of Christianity, God turns the order of this world upside-down. The greatest lowers himself to act as the humble servant of the least. The worthiest accepts death in the place of the most worthless. A real leader is -- first, last, and always -- a servant. "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first" (Matthew 19:30). No one has to get what he or she deserves and has earned. Amen and amen.

Update: more Words for Wednesday can be seen at and through Yeah, Right.


Anonymous said...

Nice reminder, Jim. Thanks for sharing.

Would that more of our "church leaders" followed Jesus' example, instead of "lording it over" their congregations. Actually, I'd be glad to know just one.

And because you were the early bird, I put your link in Mr. Linky for you, here:


Rebecca said...

Great post! God is sooo good, isn't he? Just like Mary said, "He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty."

Jim Wetzel said...

akaGaGa: Thanks very much, both for your kind words and for putting in a link for me. My schedule being what it is, sometimes I don't really have a chance to do anything online from one late-evening session to the next.

Rebecca: Thank you, too, for your kind comment, and also from that quote from the Magnificat. Really, that passage gets at what I was thinking of rather more directly than the one that came immediately to my memory.