I am desperately trying to catch up on my posts so I will follow this up over the next couple of days with some Christmas posts!
But today I just felt the need to write about the amazing service we had this morning. For some of you who attend you will probably have your own take on the experience and for those who have never participated in “washing feet” it will hopefully trigger a desire to find ways to wash the feet of some unsuspecting individual:)
To start I should give you some background regarding what’s been on my mind as of late…I have been wondering if the job I do makes that much of a difference. It’s not that I don’t believe God is at work in the hearts of children but for those of you have any contact with kids you know that the evidence is so rarely visible that it really makes one wonder what exactly they’re catching. I’ve been doing a study of 1 Samuel and have been so incredibly blessed by the reality of who God is in my personal life so I have not questioned that I am where God wants me but I still so desperately needed some tangible proof that God was using me and today was that day!
Our senior pastor is constantly coming up with great ideas to involve our children (which makes my job so much easier) and his wonderful wife has committed herself to various sundays of assistance in the children’s program. Together their desire to see growth in our children has blessed me in ways they will never know…today as Pastor Tim preached on the passage of scripture where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and how he calls us to “wash the feet of those around us” I was struck by how so many of us do just that but how we could do it so much better.
At the closing of his sermon he asked for a few minutes of quiet and I ran downstairs to get the kids (kindergarten to grade 5), as I had been asked to do. The children came upstairs quietly and walked to the front of the sanctuary to observe on the floor. Although they had not participated in the service I could see their eager, curious stares as Pastor Tim asked 6 youth to come to the front and sit down in the seats set up at the front and put their feet into the basins. He then asked for 6 individuals, who felt led, to come and wash the feet of these youth. I could feel the emotion welling in me as people started to come forward. At this point I knew tears would fall, not just from me but from many people, men and women, who were feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in that moment. The kids watched with attention and curiousity…one precious kindergarten girl, leaned to me and asked, “why is it just the adults who get to do this?”. I offered for her to come with me and wash someone’s feet and in turn have her feet washed but she shied away a bit and shook her head. I let it be and saw that few of the older boys were getting a bit antsy, but it wasn’t that they wanted to go play…they wanted a turn.
I was moved as the children began scooting forward, eager to participate and trying to overcome their hesitation, uncertain if they were really “allowed” to be a part of this beautiful ritual. I sobbed, tears that I can’t really identify, they weren’t sadness or joy or relief, it was more of such an overwhelming feeling of God’s presence that I didn’t really know what else to do. I felt affirmed as my feet were washed (not just with the water but with tears of friendship, love, prayer and heartfelt appreciation) and in that moment the uncertainty of where I am at, was lifted. Then I had the privilege of helping the children as they began to come forward. I washed a pair of feet…I helped as the kindergarten girl, who wasn’t certain before, brought her friend forward and asked if they could wash each other’s feet. The children giggled but weren’t silly…they were moved and in their child-like faith laughed as I’m sure our Father did as He watched these precious little beings worship Him. Siblings began washing feet, mothers were washing the feet of their children and vice versa. I saw grown men swipe tears away from their eyes and others smile with such victory at this simple gesture of love towards their fellow congregants. I was humbled by the expression that this simple ritual was to so many people.
As the service came to a close and I sat at the front listening to the beautiful music I sat with another sweet girl, she is the child of one of my closest friends…I’ve known her since she was 4 and hope to know her for many, many more years. I have been blessed to walk with her mother through the many trials that parenting brings, giving and taking wisdom as God allow us to share it with each other. As with any parent, I know there have been times of pure frustration in parenting this special child but as she sat with me, tears were streaming down her face and she looked up at me and said, “this is so cool”! Again I felt the hand of God placed on my life for that moment in time. I hugged her close and felt such a great joy at the family that I have been blessed with. An immediate family, including a husband who shares my faith, an extended family with a heritage of faith and the family of Christ that will one day reach my children as this particular day reached this child’s heart. I asked her if I could pray with her and she enthusiastically nodded her head. I can honestly say that the words were not my own…the Holy Spirit was with me as I spoke over her and called on Him to bring clarity to who she is, understanding of the gifts He’s given her and protection over her life.
It was such a great morning of reminding for me the power that the Holy Spirit has. It’s not about me…it’s not about what I can accomplish…it’s about being obedient to the call He has placed on my life in this moment of time. To know that when I feel tired, He is strong…when I feel overwhelmed, He is in control…when I feel uncertain, He has a plan. Although, as our pastor pointed out, our culture really doesn’t require the washing of feet, the metaphor can so easily have been transplanted for today’s society. It means putting aside your own needs and desires to meet those of others and “wrapping the towel around your waist” to serve others.
Thank you Lord, for this day that You have made. Let me rejoice and be glad in it!