This holy night gives us an example of how to live. God, in the form of a human being, as Jesus, kneels before us his creatures, takes off his outer garments–strips down to the bare minimum, takes a towel and pours water in a basin. He washes the feet of the disciples. He takes the dirtiest part of their being, the most weary and worn, and caresses them. This duty was entrusted usually to a slave but God does not refuse to leave the throne to minister to us. Do we really comprehend this concept? The God of the universe stoops and washes our feet. The gesture is wildly mind-boggling.
When was the last time you rolled your eyes and thought, This is so beneath me? How we choose to serve can change everything. I have been thinking about the difference in the two nurses who served me during a recent medical procedure. The first was so worried about herself that she overrode my needs. The other was one of the most compassionate strangers I ever encountered. The same is true for the health care aide who changed me three times when I had an adverse reaction to the morphine I was given. His cheerful countenance and gentle manner will long stay with me. When we lead, we serve. When we serve, we lead. Christ’s example of this shows that no menial task is beneath us if we serve with love.
The washing of the feet is an intimate act. I know this first hand, having been a recipient of this ritual. If we could grasp the meaning of this depth of love, perhaps we would create a different world. Today as Kenya mourns the death of over 100 people from an act of violence and terror, I pray that we may truly learn to live out the words of Christ: I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. If God can leave the throne of glory and be a humble servant, perhaps those who hunger for power for all the wrong reasons might learn a lesson here. Love wins.