“I have set an example for you” – JESUS

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.

John 13:12-15
– writer/commentator Derek Maul

Having had a birthday in late March, it was time for my annual check up. I went in for the usual physical, especially grateful for the physical therapy that has all but eliminated pain from my knee and hip.

I weighed in, filled out a bunch of forms, got poked, prodded, inspected, and measured, took a couple of “old people” shots, and then shared a vial of my blood for further analysis.

Fair warning, I am now going to brag just a little! The results are in, and it turns out that I am exceptionally healthy. The examination was positive, I have no issues, and all the tests looked good. A few of the numbers stood out, and made me extra happy;

  • “165” – That’s my idea weigh-in number!
  • “165” – Cholesterol. I scored the exact same number as my weight! This as compared to 258 for my cholesterol reading a year ago!
  • “79” – Triglycerides. Down from 190 last time.

My point here (related, believe it or not, to today’s observance of Maundy Thursday) is that nothing happens in isolation. Nothing. My body, in many senses, is a community, and what happens with one part pretty much affects everything else.

Everything is Connected:

– When we were in Cairo – foot washing

This theme, interestingly, also came out in today’s Holy Week devotional reading in The Christian Century. The writer referenced a truth that Rebekah and I have taught relentlessly over forty years of parish ministry. When congregations find themselves in trouble it’s almost always the same thing; they are inwardly rather than outwardly focused. Jesus is about unity, not uniformity, and when it’s all about Jesus it can’t be all about us and our petty differences! The gospel is about humility, about reaching others, and about serving the community.

We are necessarily more healthy when we understand that we were created in order to live and serve and love and grow in the context of community. This is what Jesus highlights when he begins his last meal with his friends by getting on his hands and knees and washing their dusty feet.

Foot washing was not unusual in 1st Century mideastern culture. What makes this story interesting is that the person on their knees was/is God. Jesus – and he does this often – was the one to live out loud the humility he taught; the Master does what the disciples should have done without a second thought.

“I want you to have this same disposition,” Jesus is telling/showing them, “in all your relationships, both to one another and to the world. Courtesy, kindness, care, service, tenderness, mercy.”

  • If you have time, please read this post from our visit to the slums in Cairo, Egypt “SYMBIOSIS

This is salvation!

As a Christian thinker and commentator, I often write that “salvation” means joining in with God’s work in this world, becoming active partners in God’s initiatives of love, grace, healing, mercy, light, justice, redemption, hope, peace, and more.

So today, when we think about sitting at the table with the disciples, may we be moved – literally – to live as humble servants.

Your leg bone connected to your knee bone
Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone
Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone
Your hip bone connected to your back bone
I hear the word of the Lord!

– you know the rest…

Do we hear the word of the Lord? – DEREK

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