SERVING ONE ANOTHER
Jesus 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. (John 13:4-5)
In a time of personal crisis, with the cross looming, Jesus goes beyond self-interest to serve his disciples. He washes their feet – grimy, smelly, rough feet. The leader becomes the servant. The holy one becomes the humble one. The son of God becomes the servant of all.
As I ponder Maundy Thursday, I remember the hymn, “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant?” by Richard Gilland – “Will you let me be your servant?/Will you let me be as Christ to you./Pray that I might have the grace/to let you be my servant to.” Martin Luther says we are called to be “little Christs,” serving one another in Christ’s place. Benedict of Nursia counsels us to “treat everyone as Christ.”
We can serve without going anywhere. We can serve without touching or delivering food. We can serve by creating a place of love where we are. We can serve by letting our love flow in ways appropriate to our current sheltering in place. We can serve by sharing a good word though, writing a note, sending a check, calling a friend, praying throughout the day.On Holy Thursday, Jesus shared his full humanity with us. He invited us to become fully human too. Not the humanity of power and prestige, the humanity that separates and lords over others, but the humanity that sees our common origins and identity as God’s children, the humanity that embraces otherness, the humanity whose heart is as large of the planet.
Let us become Mahatmas, great souled ones, today. Serving God and each other. As Gilland says, “We are pilgrims on a journey/here together on the road/we are here to help each other/walk the mile bear the load.”
Let us serve as Christ serves and love as Christ loves. Grant eyes to see Christ in all and treat all as Christ. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over 50 books including FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC and GOD ONLINE: A MYSTIC’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNET