Distanced Socializing Devotional- 20
Today's devotional was written by Pastor Beth Graverholt.
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come.' 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."
Celebrating Holy Week without gathering in person is a surreal experience. Typically, we join together as a community of faith on Wednesday or Thursday to celebrate Holy Communion as we read of Jesus’ last supper and to wash one another’s hands and feet like he did for his disciples. At Christ UMC and ConnectioN Point we’re working on finding ways to celebrate communion virtually, but I have to say, the foot washing is a little harder to do via Zoom.
What we have to remember though is that foot-washing on Maundy Thursday is not an end in itself, but a symbolic ritual to help us remember the new commandment which Jesus gives his disciples at the end of this passage. We wash one another’s feet to remember that just as Jesus loved us, we also should love one another.
It strikes me that this Holy Week is different than any I’ve celebrated before, not just because I can’t participate in treasured sacraments and rituals with my faith community, but because the whole world is being asked to love one another right now in very sacrificial ways. Staying at home and practicing physical distancing for the sake of the most vulnerable in our society has affected us all differently, for some people it’s an uncomfortable inconvenience while for other people it’s been a burden that’s costing them their livelihoods. It’s challenged everyone to think about what they really need, and what they can postpone doing for the well-being of the rest of the community. For the first time in a long time, it seems as though our world is recognizing that there is a goal greater than fulfilling our individual desires and that goal is love and concern for our fellow humans, especially the most vulnerable.
“Washing feet” on this Maundy Thursday need not literally mean to wash the feet of another. We can be reminded of Jesus’ great love and his commandment to love one another as we forego our personal desires in order to follow the recommendations of our health officials. We can actively love one another as we reach out in safe ways- with phone calls and video chats, with cards, flowers, and groceries delivered to porches. If we’re willing, I think we can find and do many acts of selfless and sacrificial love this Maundy Thursday, even if we’re not washing each other’s feet.
God, who loves us beyond all measure, we thank you for the loving concern for others that we can see during this time, even as our world struggles with a pandemic. Help us be creative in finding ways to show love for one another, even as we maintain distancing for the sake of everyone’s health. Prepare our hearts to experience anew Jesus’ sacrificial love this Holy Week. Amen
1. Good Friday. We will be streaming a special Good Friday service on Friday, April 10 at 7 pm led by Pastor Beth and Lily.
2. Easter Sunday services will be led by Pastor Richard and Colt and will stream at 11 am on Sunday, April 12.
You can access both of these services live by clicking on https://www.facebook.com/christumclinc/. If you miss the services live, you can access them later on Facebook as well as our church webpages, https://www.christumclinc.org for Christ United Methodist and https://www.connectionpointlnk.org/ for ConnectioN Point.
Our Facebook page is open to everyone, so we encourage you to invite friends, who may not have access to church services during this time of social isolation, to join us for worship. Of course, they can also access the recorded services online at our web sites listed above.