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Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, April 9

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel in which he was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know, but afterward you will understand.”
—John 13: 3-7

Maundy Thursday

The image of Jesus stooping to wash his disciples’ feet is one that I treasure. Too often we think of Jesus as some divine being in a dazzling white robe, who is removed from our human situation. We’ve captured Jesus so often in stained glass and upon canvas that we forget that this is the one who stoops down to wash the feet of his companions. This human being, this divine among us, reaches down to the depths of who we are and with water and towel washes us through and through.

Each Holy Week I look forward to the remembrance of this act. In church we stoop to wash each others' feet. But the service I truly anticipate is the one in the Day School. Our children gather on Maundy Thursday, and with many a basin and pitcher, remove their shoes and wash each others' feet.

Normally squirmy, they are calm and focused for this service. They look forward to it each year and come knowing that they will be moved. They seem to understand the story, as their little toes go into the water. They smile, they giggle, and they laugh. But most of all, they seem to understand that God makes us new.

If you’ve never experienced this kind of service, perhaps today is the day. Seek a church in your area that has a Maundy Thursday service that includes foot washing. Go, see what it is like for disciples to stoop down and wash each others’ feet just like Christ instructed. And in that moment, see and remember the real Jesus, the one who cleanses our souls through his love.

Loving God, you wash me completely, treating me as one of your beloved children. Help me be more like a child, trusting, loving, and imagining what your cleansing touch can do in my life. Amen.