Sunday’s Scripture ~ John 13:1-5, 13-17.
Through washing the disciples’ feet Jesus enacts and makes visible his love for his own. “For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:15).
As I marinated in this text this week I also marinated in the question, “How is it that I enact and make visible my love for my own?”
I am an accomplisher. I accomplish tasks with regularity and efficiency. I accomplish tasks as a way of expressing my love.
And one of my primary ways of accomplishing and therefore expressing love – cleaning.
I pause for a moment because I know my parents are picking their jaws up off the floor. As a child my parents would attempt to twist my arm six ways to Sunday to get me to clean and now it is one of my primary ways to express love for others.
I know you are proud, Mom and Dad.
Some of you may wonder…why cleaning? This is why.
During college Andrew was a church custodian for one of the largest United Methodist Churches in Florida. And allow me to let you in on a little secret – church people are not the cleanest people. For five years Andrew cleaned up messes that he did not make. He scrubbed walls and floors and trashcans. He swept, mopped, and polished. He worked well into the night – every night – so that guests to the campus would arrive to find their room and adjacent facilities in pristine and hospitable conditions.
Andrew took pride in his work. He served well. And he became an example for me.
I clean with the diligence and commitment that I do as a way of making easier the path for others around me. As I accomplish the tasks my hands may be manipulating a rag or a broom, but my heart is focused on the individual I am serving in that moment. My dedication to that task frees my neighbor to dedicate their hearts in another area, to another person or project, which will bring them joy and hopefully sustain these waves of service as they continue rippling.
It is true, cleaning tasks are not always glamorous…and sometimes they are down right smelly. And that is when I think about my Jesus, kneeling before the pungent feet of his disciples, offering them comfort and care through washing their feet.
“For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
I encourage you to find time this week to consider how it is that you enact and make visible your love for your own. Consider how you make easier the paths of those around you. And then begin to identify the ways that others make easier your path. Give thanks for the many ways the waves of service ripple to and from you.
Prayer: “Called by worship to your service, forth in your dear name we go to the child, the youth, the aged, love in living deeds to show; hope and health, good will and comfort, counsel, aid, and peace we give, that your servants, Lord in freedom may your mercy know, and live.”* Amen.
*”Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service,” The United Methodist Hymnal 581.