I've never been a member of a church that celebrated Maundy Thursday, so in my preparations to make Easter more meaningful for my own family this year, I did a little research. Here's what I found out. Maundy Thursday is the day of Holy Week (Passion Week, some call it) that represents the last supper....the washing of feet....the last purely intimate time the disciples had with Jesus. There was the breaking of bread, the drinking of wine and then there was..the foot washing. The foot washing.
About ten and a half years ago Bruce and I went to a Pastor's retreat in Red River, New Mexico. The retreat accommodations where lovely and the church that hosted the retreat was probably the most friendly bunch of Christians I have ever met. We had been to the retreat the year before and connected with some of the families in the church and enjoyed our fellowship there. On the last day of the conference though, something happened that will forever be etched in my memory. The pastor had all the other pastoral staff couples (including Bruce and I) gather in a circle and sit down. He then asked us to take our shoes off. I was nearly petrified as I had not had a pedicure in who knows when, but as other well worn feet slipped from their shoes, I too slid my feet from my shoes. And then, as if on cue, one couple for each ministry couple emerged from a side room. Husband holding a large bowl of water and Wife holding neatly folded white towels across her arm. Our couple knelt before us, and gently placed one foot at a time in the warm water, taking a cloth and washing over our dirty, dry, cracked, calloused feet. First one foot, then the other. First pastor then wife. In silence, they lovingly, gently, kindly washed our feet. It was that same type of action...the Maundy Thursday kind of action....the love each other as you want to be loved action...that has stayed with me all these years.
See, Maundy Thursday was an act of humility from our King Jesus. In all His majesty, he washed the disciples feet....even the feet of the one who would betray him. O.U.C.H. He knew...and yet He washed...because Maundy Thursday was about love....about loving when it's dirty, inconvenient, unfair, humiliating, hurtful and when you know betrayal is next. It's about thinking of others more highly than you do yourself, about going the extra mile and remembering that everyone who walks in this world has dirty feet. Even yourself. Even me.