Today I'm linking up with Five Minute Friday, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word: SETTLE.
Last night I entered the darkened church and settled into a seat. I had arrived a few minutes before our Maundy Thursday service was to begin. There was quiet music playing and a notice on the screen inviting us to sit quietly in preparation for worship.
Images and directions on the screen guided us through the service. At one point a picture of a basin and a towel appeared, and parts of the Scripture passage from John 13 about Jesus washing the disciples' feet were shown:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well.”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “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 for you."
The instructions on the screen directed us to reflect on the passage. As we did so, the sound of water being poured into a basin could be heard over and over and over again. I imagined Jesus pouring water from a jug into a basin, kneeling before one of his friends and washing his feet, then dumping the water out and pouring in fresh water before moving on to the next man.
Then I imagined Jesus kneeling before me and performing this humble service.
"Maundy" comes from the word "mandate" -- and the washing of the disciples' feet symbolized Jesus' new mandate for his followers.
Jesus knew that the end was coming; soon he would be arrested, beaten, and crucified. Yet at this moment, his priority was not to strategize with his disciples, or distribute arms and supplies so that they could protect themselves. His priority was to show his disciples what true love is -- and to demonstrate this, he settled on the most menial act of service: washing the hot, sweaty, grubby feet of his friends.
Love is humbly and sacrificially serving others. Even those who might betray or deny us. Even those who already have.
I can't stop thinking about this: the sound of the water pouring over and over into the bowl, and the realization of Jesus' love being poured out over and over for me -- an ordinary, flawed person, yet one whom He calls friend.