Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you. Kneels at the feet of his friends, silently washes their feet, Master who acts as a slave to them.
United Methodist Hymn # 432 words by Tom Colvin
John 13: 31-35
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
During Holy Week many Christians hold special services to remember the events known as “The Last Supper” when Jesus sat down to share a meal with his friends and disciples before the beginning of Passover. In the local culture when one entered a home it was a sign of hospitality to provide water with which to wash one’s feet, or in more privileged homes, to provide a servant to wash the feet of a visitor. This is not simply a gesture toward cleanliness, but symbolizes that the guest is no longer considered a stranger and that the host has no ill-intent for the guest. In other words, one is now a welcome member in the household and can feel safe and secure. In addition, the sharing of a meal was more than just the act of eating food. It was another way of providing hospitality and welcoming someone as a member of the family.
As people participate in special services where a symbolic foot-washing takes place, and we remember the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples as he broke the bread and passed the cup of wine with them, we sometimes forget the most important message of that evening long ago. We forget the reason we refer to this day as “Maundy” Thursday. More important than the foot-washing, even more important than the bread and cup, this was the moment when Jesus pronounced his new commandment or mandate, “mandatum” in Latin, “maundé” in French. Jesus commanded us to, “love one another just as I have loved you.”
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for this opportunity to remember your 11th commandment. Help us to remember this new commandment in all that we do, in all that we say, throughout all our days. Amen
Devotion written by Janet Lahr Lewis, Advocacy Coordinator for the Middle East, GBGM, and Peace with Justice Program Associate, GBCS. She formerly served as a GBGM missionary in 2001 in two positions and then as the Methodist Liaison in Palestine and Israel from 2006 to 2014.
The wooden wall, a project of the YWCA of Jerusalem, and two feet in the Jericho spirngs, photographs taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown
The “foot washing” relief and “Love One Another” are images shared on the internet.