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Most of us, these days, never really get our feet dirty.
We wear shoes, not sandals; we put on overshoes when it rains.
We ride in air-conditioned cars instead of walking
down long dusty roads,
or streets where animals bear the burdens of commerce.
Many of us never get our feet dirty at all.

Not so when Jesus and his disciples gathered for that Passover meal.
It was one of the obligations of hospitality
to enable a guest to bathe away the stains of travel,
for a slave to cleanse the feet of those who reclined at your table.
That night there was no servant present to wash travel-dusted feet;
Only twelve men and the Man of God they followed.
Did no one want to play a servant's part?

Then Jesus rose from his place at the table,
tucked a towel under the girdle of his robe,
filled a basin, and began washing feet.
It didn't matter that this was the lowliest slave's job-
and He was the Master.
It didn't matter that this was menial labor -
and that He was a craftsman-a carpenter;
a teacher and a rabbi.
It wasn't important that He was the leader
and those twelve men were his followers.
What was important was that here was an unmet need-
So He filled the basin
and washed their feet.

And they didn't understand.
They didn't want the job themselves,
But they knew it wasn't proper for someone like the Master
to do a slave's job
to wash their feet..
I wonder how long it took them to comprehend. . .

For we still haven't fully learned His lesson.
Our pride and dignity are still important to us.
"The way things are supposed to be done"
still keeps us from seeing
"what needs to be done."
We still become wrapped up
in our own needs and angers,
our fears and griefs
And we are blind to the agony of others.

It is only when the servant Christ
becomes the center of our lives
that we are free enough of our self-concerns
to meet the needs of others.
It is only then that we are truly free-
free, that is, to serve.

And He girded himself with a towel
and washed their feet.

Copyright © 1988 Lily M. Kerns;