Sunday, August 8, 2010

Washing Feet

Here's a devotion and prayer by Pastor Erma Wolf, Brandon, South Dakota from
John 13:12-17 After [Jesus] 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.”

Devotion: The hallmark of Lutheran teaching is that salvation is a free gift of grace, given not on account of anything we do but on account of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even so, Jesus reminds us, as he taught his disciples in this account from the Gospel of St. John, that how we treat one another is not a matter of indifference. We are not saved by our actions; but we do bear witness to our salvation from Jesus Christ in how we act toward one another. Do we insist on our rights and privileges, or do we kneel before our brothers and sisters, washing their feet? For all our emphasis on right teaching and right belief, the blessing is given in what we actually do, how we care for each other. And this is particularly true when relationships are strained and at the breaking point.

What matters most is not whether one is in the ELCA, the NALC, or any other church body; not whether one is in Lutheran CORE, Word Alone, or even Lutherans Concerned/North America; not even if one “speaks in the tongues of angels” and “possesses all knowledge”: rather, did any of us give a cup of cold water to one of God’s little ones? Did we visit those in prison, pray with those who were sick, and bring good news to the poor? Did we welcome in those who came seeking Jesus? Did we serve the least of these? Did we wash feet?

Prayer: Precious Jesus, even our best thoughts and beliefs are bankrupt if we fail to see you calling us to serve others on our knees. We are not comfortable there. It is fearful to follow your example. Did you really mean wash that person’s feet? We have so much business to take care of, such a full schedule to work through. This serving one another takes so much time! Forgive us, Lord, for thinking that our agenda takes precedence over your call. Teach us how to be church again. Bring us to our knees, along side of you on yours, that we may know your blessing. Amen.

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