It was after Jesus and his disciples had finished supper,
A meal which was to become his memorial feast,
That Jesus took a towel and a bowl of water,
And knelt down to wash the disciples’ feet.
In this lowly task Jesus taught us a lesson,
A lesson which is easy for us to understand,
That after we have gained strength from partaking of the emblems
We should be prepared to meet the need of others in our land.
The sacrament of communion was to be a memorial,
A memorial of his death for those who trust in him,
At the same time it was to be a pledge of their dying,
Not to die a death, but to die to the power of sin.
The fellowship of death to sin is but a preparation,
A preparation for service to our fellow man,
By itself the sacrament is but half a truth,
It requires the sacrament of service to fulfil God’s master plan.
Whether the death of Christ should be remembered only in the feast,
Or if in fact two sacramental acts was intended,
There is no doubt that our communion with Christ should lead to growth.
Failure to serve our fellow man cannot be defended.
Jesus knew that God had given all things into his hand,
His power over everything in Heaven and Earth was complete,
His disciples called him Master and Lord, and so he was,
And yet this man humbled himself to wash the disciples feet.
When we sit down at the Lord’s table it is a privilege,
It is an honour to which we are admitted by grace,
Communion with Christ is one of the highest honours we can achieve,
And it should give us strength to meet the problems we have to face.
Behind the feast lies the basin and the towel,
And it is imperative our responsibilities are not forsaken,
Because the community of spirit implies community of service,
And there is a great deal of service which must be undertaken.
No one can partake of the symbols of the Lord’s supper in truth,
Unless they begin immediately to care for others,
To gird themselves and take a towel and a bowl of water,
To wash away the cares of our sisters and our brothers.
When Jesus took a bowl of water and began to wash the disciples feet,
He taught us several lessons which should be contemplated,
Firstly that it is not our business to point out other people’s faults,
But to ensure that these faults are eliminated.
It may be a useful service to tell people what is wrong with them,
But it is an imperfect work unless we show them how to live in a different way,
Christ was not content to point out sin and weakness,
He knew it was his task to wash these faults away.
He did not use pointed satire, biting scorn or sarcasm,
Weapons which would burn deep into the soul,
They were not the means he used to provide relief,
Only clean towels and water to comfort and to make whole.
He did not play the part of a humorist or satirist,
One who could laugh at other peoples’ faults,
It was his business to wash them all away,
As his followers we should not take up our pens,
With which we could describe the ills of others,
But we should take the basin and towel to ease their pain today.
This is not always an easy thing to do,
Sometimes we are revolted by the actions of our fellow man,
But these are the people who really need us most,
And it’s up to us to do everything we can.
Foot washing not only means lowly tasks,
Sometimes it will be one which tries our natural sensitivity,
But if we are claiming the fellowship of his love and service,
We are called to deal with the world no matter how revolting it may be.
Love has no pride, and love must have no delicacies,
Except those that spring from tenderness and kindness,
These are the qualities that we must try to show,
To the uncaring, the feckless and the mindless.
That is what God would have us do,
Even though we may find our efforts are resisted,
We might be disappointed and wonder if it is all worthwhile,
But we shall find satisfaction in knowing that we persisted.
When Jesus washed the disciples feet he taught us a lesson,
It is not the hearers of the word, but the doers who are justified,
Therefore, the sacrament of communion must be followed by the communion service,
This is the only way that the will of God will be satisfied
By Ron Martin