Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Daily Devotion for Day 31 of Lent 2016

Scripture Reading: Exodus 30 (NRSV)

It was only the last couple of years that I have actually offered foot washing at our Maundy Thursday worship service during Holy Week.  It is an optional part of the service - we don't force anyone to have their feet washed!  A Maundy Thursday service is held on the Thursday before Easter and usually contains foot washing as well as Holy Communion as that is the night in which Jesus institutes Holy Communion for his disciples - at least according to the synoptic gospels.

For the Gospel of John, we don't have the Lord's Supper recounted.  Within John's account, we do have the miracles of the abundance of wine and bread as well as the I Am statements of "I am the bread of life" and "I am the vine".  But on this particular night, we only see in John the account of Jesus washing his disciples' feet.

Foot washing is a powerful act even today
for how we relate to one another.  To me a true
leader is one who exhibits this kind of humility.
Following the foot washing, Jesus gives the new commandment (mandatum novum in Latin) which is to love one another.

As I read today's Exodus passage and saw the instruction of the Bronze Basin in verses 17-21, it was connecting for me to see that the priests would wash their hands and feet before coming before God.  This is evidently not done for them but an act each priest would perform before approaching the holy.

Baptism has this symbolism as well: the symbolic washing away of our sins - all that makes us unclean.  We are seen as a new person.

Jesus seems to turn this washing around and makes the act itself a holy thing of service to one another.  The washing was originally symbolic in itself with the priests washing before they came to the altar.  Now it is transformed into the symbolic act of washing another.  If in our service to one another, we encounter the living Lord, maybe approaching the holy is something that happens when we follow the new commandment to love one another.

Can you re-imagine your service to another as a holy act?

Photo by John Ragal via, used by permission under the Creative Commons license.

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