Follow Jesus (Maundy Thursday)
Today's devotional comes from "Falling Into Goodness," a book of Lenten reflections by Chuck DeGroat. You can purchase the entire book on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. John 13:14-15
She sat in my office, broken by a betrayal. I had no words. Her sense of her own dignity seemed shattered. I saw on her the face of one who feels worthless.
“I’ll be right back,” I said. I returned with a basin and water. “May I wash your feet?” I asked. She gave me permission, and wept as I gently washed them.
This was a true self moment, a moment when my deepest me in Jesus emerged to bless another. I was along for the ride. I’d never done this…and I’ve never done anything quite like it since. Maybe you’ve had the feeling too, the feeling of being connected to Love and getting out of the way long enough for Love to live through you.
Later that day, shame overcame me. Less selfless parts of me began to cry out, “That was a show. All for you and not for her. You’re a phony.” Another part of me chimed in, “She didn’t deserve that from you. She’s a mess. Let her deal with it herself.” I was tossed to-and-fro in a torrent of inner fragmentation. A few moments later I exclaimed, “Stop.”
It was like I was commanding the ‘Legion’ within. My inner world was in a frenzy, and I felt a bit like Jesus declaring to the raging waters, “Be still!” Over the next few moments I began tending to my various inner rivals, showing compassion to parts of me that needed care. As if I was washing the feet of ashamed and pained parts of me, I lavished them with care. Later that night, I fell into my bed in exhaustion.
Following Jesus means going to battle for the sake of the other. It means stepping into shame and confusion, pain and betrayal. It means alliance and advocacy, justice and mercy. But let’s not forget we need the same ourselves. I’m convinced Evil wanted to sabotage divine dignity in me that day, and I’m grateful the Spirit stepped in.
Later Jesus would command, “Love one another as I have loved you.” The word command is where we get the word ‘Maundy’ in Maundy Thursday. This is our command, our call, our vocation. We love because Jesus loves us. Jesus longs to show us compassion. Jesus knows the battle is hard, that we are weary, that sometimes it just feels like too much. He also knows our inner battles – the voices of shame and anger and self-contempt and avoidance and so many more. And so, through our True self in Christ, he becomes our servant, the one who washes our feet.
Can you imagine it? Jesus longs to wash your feet. He longs to show you the love he commands you to offer the other. On this day, why don’t you practice receiving that love? Why don’t you greet Jesus, at your very feet, touching the ground, a reminder once again that it is here that God reminds us who we are.
Humble Servant, you wash my feet! I can hardly fathom it. I never, ever feel like I do enough for you and for others. And yet you long to show me love. You long to show me that in you, I am enough. Amazing love, how can it be! May I, too, be a blessing to others. Amen