Foot Washing

Day 36: Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Rev. Sela Finau

Foot Washing

Scripture: Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet. Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me. (John 13:5-8 NRSV)

Devotion: When I was a student at Perkins School of Theology at SMU, we had a foot-washing worship service. I was intrigued by what this service would offer since I had yet to experience one prior, so between classes, I attended this service.

I was surprised that many of my professors and the Dean were present. I thought to myself, “Oh, this would be interesting.” When it came time for the foot-washing ceremony, we got in line and made our way forward. There were two basins of water and clean towels for the two lines we formed. The person in front of me would wash my feet, and I, in return, would wash the person’s feet that was behind me. The person in front of me was one of my professors. The experience played out in my mind that this professor was my teacher and was similar to Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Jesus had set an example for his disciples to follow.

Yet, so many of us would feel uncomfortable literally carrying out Jesus’ teaching. Foot washing was a sign of hospitality in the ancient world. The host provided water and cloth, and then the guests washed or allowed a servant to wash them. Jesus’ point of foot washing was serving one another out of love. He called his disciples deeper into love, humility, and service. Jesus calls us to love him and be willing to serve one another with humility and unconditional love.

In this season of Lent, Holy Week, may we humble ourselves as Jesus did and offer hospitality and love to others by serving them.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your gift of love and service. Continue to teach us your ways so that we may also do likewise.



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