Thursday, June 20, 2013

Beautiful Love Through Service

By Julie Gernand
“From this day forward, our thoughts and actions will be for each other… our plans mutual, our joys and sorrows shared… as we become one in Christ.”
These are the words printed on the cover of the wedding program for two dear friends who were married this past weekend.

Weddings are such glorious, joyful events! It was truly a beautiful thing to witness this bride and groom recite their vows before their family, friends, and Heavenly Father - the union of two souls becoming one. What awesome design!

Our friends chose to partake in a foot-washing ceremony during their wedding service. Set to the backdrop of Steven Curtis Chapman’s (tear-jerking!) song “I Will Be Here”, first the groom knelt to symbolically wash the bride’s feet, and then the bride did the same for her new husband.  It was touching to see my friend with tears running down her cheeks as her groom knelt at her feet. They were truly tears of joy, for my friend realized the high significance of such an action.

You see, in washing each other’s feet, this couple was showing their desire to serve the other person. In demonstrating this act of genuine, heartfelt love, this husband and wife were embodying the image of Jesus Christ.

Let’s read John 13: 12-17. It’s amazing!

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

In Jesus’ day, the feet were considered the dirtiest, foulest part of the body. Feet were exposed to whatever one came across – muddy or dusty roads, animal droppings, jagged rocks that would leave cuts - and the washing of the feet was considered to be a job only for gentile slaves upon arriving in someone’s home.
Jesus’ bold choice to wash the feet of his disciples was completely out-of-the-ordinary. Can you imagine this?! The King of Kings bows to wash the grime of the earth from your feet. And He insists.

The Crossway ESV Study Bible states the following:

“With his crucifixion imminent, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet as a final proof of his love for them, setting an example of humility and servant-hood and signifying the washing away of sins through his death. In a striking demonstration of love for his enemies, Jesus washes all of his disciples’ feet, including those of Judas.”

Just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, let us strive to wash the feet of others, as Jesus commanded, be it literally AND figuratively. Jesus’ command is for us to forgive others as Jesus forgave us, and to serve one another, following Jesus’ examples given to us in the Bible.

Husbands, seek to serve your wives, and wives, do the same for your husbands. Friends, seek to act humbly to your friends, and serve them in unexpected ways. Daughters, seek to serve your mothers, and sons, serve your elders.  Though we may be far from the perfect example that Jesus was, let us remember what the King of Glory did for us – and may we do that for others. 

Dear Jesus, You are the ultimate example of a humble servant. So often in our haughty, proud, sinful nature, we seek to be served instead of the very opposite. Help us to dwell on your goodness, and may we emulate you in the ways that we forgive and serve our neighbors, strangers, friends, and family members. We cannot thank you enough for your ultimate act of service to us – your unconditional love, shown through your death on the cross and resurrection three days later. We love you, Lord.

Amen.

Have you ever been served in a way that completed humbled you?

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