Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, faith, God, Grace, Inspiration, Lent, Religion, Revival, Spirituality, Wholeness
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
My wife tells a wonderful story of when she was participating in a summer mission trip to Uganda. Her group was meeting with women and children who had suffered the most unimaginable violence and tragedy under the harsh military dictator Idi Amin. The wounds on this society were still quite evident. As their group traveled from village to village to preach and worship culminating with a feast prepared by the women of the village.
Their group of Americans was encouraged to sit on chairs in a circle facing one another. When the visitors had taken their places women would enter clapping and singing. Leading them was one woman on her knees or crouched holding in one hand a tub of water in which floated the half of a hollow gourd. In her other hand was a bar of soap. Holding out the bowl she would extend it from person to person so that they could wash of their germs in water that was a precious commodity. All the while the other women would sing and bring out the food.
Carol was embarrassed and desperately wanted the woman to get up. Why should this woman kneel in front of her? Yet, these acts set tone for the meal so that she was filled with celebration and of deep gratitude that these women would sacrifice for her. They brought the best of their food and drink and they were teaching these American visitors a lesson in hospitality and humility.
Jesus kneels at the dirty feet of his disciples. He knows that the role of servant is the role of true leadership. Christ’s type of leadership is not in raw power, fabulous wealth, self-help or even natural talent. It is in the ability to exhibit genuine hospitality to those whom you consider inferior. It is in the search to understand real humility. This is the humility that is so authentic that it has brought about the glorification of God.
If we need to know what will fuel this hospitality and humility it is encapsulated in the ministry defining words of Jesus: “I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you shall love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Service to others is at the heart of our ability to show love for one another. It is mostly through acts of humility and hospitality that we are able to convey that great love that we have already received.
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