The first time I participated in a Maundy Thursday service was in 2006. At our small church in Durham, we held a foot washing service that was to celebrate and recall Jesus washing the feet of His disciples right before He was arrested and led to the cross. I was nervous! Should I get a pedicure? Who exactly will be touching my feet? ick.
It turned out to be a very beautifully intimate time as the pastor invited people to come up in pairs (of our own choosing!) and wash each other's feet. I watched as an elderly man came with his adult daughter....a woman, full-bloom with baby #3 came with her husband.....our worship leader came with his soon-to-be-married daughter.... My husband and I went together and I was surprised how humbling it was to have him wash my feet - I don't usually have trouble letting him serve me! ;)
At our current church, we do it a little differently. We wash each other's feet around the circle, women washing women and men washing men. This year the senior pastor's wife washed my feet and while it certainly felt a little awkward for me, she graciously poured the warm water over my feet and dried them with a clean, white towel. As she knelt down in front of me, she looked up and smiled.
And suddenly, I had a clear image of my Saviour, looking up and smiling at me. My eyes filled with tears as I realized how far I fall short of such tender love. I thought of Jesus, His own mind whirling with what was to come and yet taking the time to serve me.
How many times have I considered service a burden?
How many time have I told my kids, 'I'm not your slave!'
How many times have I *sighed* either inwardly or outwardly, as I've been forced to put aside my own desires for the needs of someone else.
Mark 10 tells the story of Jesus encoutering a rich young man. The man wanted the eternal life God was offering, yet struggled with claiming it. Jesus knew the man's heart, and could see what was blocking him from really making a change in his life. He didn't *sigh* frustrated to have to explain it all again, He didn't tell the man to go ask someone else, or ask again later...
"Jesus looked at him and loved him."
Jesus knows my limitations and He also knows my heart. He looks at me and loves me. He patiently leads me toward Himself, guiding me and lovingly correcting my wrong thinking. His plans for the world are so big, and yet He cares about my journey, my little problems!
Jesus looked up at me and smiled, as He tenderly poured warm water over my feet and dried them with a clean white towel. Better than a pedicure at the finest spa!