“After he had washed their feet, and 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 who 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. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
(John 13: 12-15, 17)
The season of Epiphany is a season of seeing new things, building new awareness of our life in Christ, of revealing new aspects of our Lord. Epiphany happens as we enter into a new calendar year, and we are invited into new perspectives. Our Lord washes the feet of his disciples and leaves an example of the spirit of life that we are to follow. We have experienced the Advent and Christmas season in the weeks that have passed, and have reflected on the gift of God’s son, Jesus. Epiphany opens new aspects of the identity of this gift. Long after the Christmas presents have been opened, we are still in a sense opening the gift of the Son’s identity.
Last fall I pulled a tendon in my right ankle and had to wear a boot for two months. I lost my mobility and used a knee scooter to move around. My identity changed from an active person who moved around quickly to an inactive person who couldn’t move without the scooter. I missed my daily walks and hiking on my favorite trails in the area. Slowly over time I discovered new aspects of my identity.
I love to read and finished many books during this time. Several friends and family members had special events in their lives or were recovering from surgeries. I had time to send them cards and write letters.
Letters – who writes letters anymore? I rediscovered that practice and am continuing it even though my mobility has returned.
Epiphany reveals to us new aspects of our Lord’s identity and this process can invite us into discovering new parts of ourselves. We experience in these verses our Lord as a servant. What does this say about his relationship with his disciples? What actions does our Lord invite us to do as we see him wash feet?
How are we living our lives in Christ as His servants? What practices might we need to develop aspects of our servanthood? My practice of letter writing started because I couldn’t do other things. I need intention and purpose now to make time for this practice. A new calendar year is often a time for resolutions. Another way of looking at it might be:
- What can I celebrate as a servant of God during Epiphany?
- What practice might I tweak or change slightly to live out being a servant?
- What might I add to my practices that can benefit my own growth and bring joy to others?
If we ask these questions honestly grounded in prayer, amazing things will be revealed.
Lord, you reveal to us your service to your disciples. With your guidance, we can be servants in our lives today and help to heal a hurting world. Empower us to new insights and practices as we live as your servants. Help us celebrate the many ways we are serving others. With your example of servanthood and washing feet, we can serve and strengthen others. Amen.