Dear St. Lukers,
This weekend, we move into the final days of Jesus’ life, remembering the time he spent with his disciples in the upper room, the dramatic events of Good Friday and his crucifixion, and moving toward resurrection on Easter Sunday.
This week in Breathing Space we meditated on this passage from the Gospel of John chapter 13:
“Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing.” (John 13:2-5 CEB)
This is the only gospel we see this key event of Jesus’ last night with his disciples where he humbles himself to perform the work of a servant, creating great discomfort among his friends, and simultaneously pressing them even more to show them his purpose for being there among them.
This week, though, one word caught me during our Lectio Divina practice. Right there at the beginning of verse 4. Two letters. “So.” We hear that Judas’ betrayal is inevitable, and we hear a word that Jesus knew what was to come for himself. And then, that little word – SO. Judas would betray him; Jesus knew that God had commissioned him for what was to come; SO, he washed his disciples’ feet. I’ve heard it said, “What would you do if you knew you had one day left to live? Jesus knew and he washed feet.” There’s something powerful to that, isn’t there?
In these next few days, we will get to encounter Jesus’ final days, as well as his glorious resurrection. Three days where we see Jesus’ “so.” Jesus came to earth to live, God incarnate, teaching, healing, offering an example for the world, preaching prophetic words of justice and mercy…and so, he washed his disciples’ feet, he gave his life on a cross, and he returned on Easter in glorious and gracious resurrection.
Until the end, he modeled for us what a life of faith looks like. We can read Scripture, pray, come to worship, go through all the right motions…but if it doesn’t lead to a “so,” we’re not fully following Jesus. And Jesus shows us in these next three days what “so” looked like for him, and what it must also look like for us.
So…whose feet do you need to humble yourself to wash this year? How do you need to sacrifice your life in service to others? And where are you bringing resurrection to our world? What’s your “so?”
I admit that this year I’m looking forward to Easter more than I have in the last few, not in small part because after Easter our Staff Parish Relations Committee has graciously approved a seven-week Renewal Leave for me. I’ll be taking time away from my responsibilities at St. Luke’s, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to rest – really rest in body, mind, and spirit – and ground myself again outside of the chaos of everyday church life.
And when I return, I’ll be taking on a new role at St. Luke’s. In our 23 and We visioning process, you named that helping people find meaning and purpose in their lives is our highest priority in the next few years. So, I’ll be focusing on that work as your Minister of Leadership Development beginning in June. I am looking forward to working with our staff and lay leadership to create ways for you to LEAD your life with meaning and purpose so that we can Reveal the Kingdom in all our spheres of influence.
So…will you join me this weekend at Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter services as we see what it truly means to LEAD our lives following Jesus?
– Pastor Melissa