4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
Christ’s “mandate” is commemorated on Maundy Thursday—“maundy” being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “command.” It happened, as was supposed, on the Thursday of Christ’s final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said this commandment to His disciples. Jesus and his disciples had just shared what was known as the Last Supper and he was washing their feet when he stated:
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
How can we wash feet when we can’t even shake hands? Our current pandemic has made it impossible, or at least dangerous, for human touch. I met my neighbor yesterday and we both reached out a hand for a handshake. Suddenly we both withdrew and backed away with a smile.
The command was to love. The washing of feet was only a demonstration of that love and humility. If shaking hands is dangerous then washing feet is awkward but there are many other ways we can demonstrate love one to another. In fact, those ways are beginning to bubble to the surface.
The telephone is a wonderful way to keep in touch. Is there anyone who needs a call from you? Shouts of encouragement from across the street have emerged. Non-paper and no-touch emails are a great way to make contact. We can still show love one to another.
Love is not an emotion but an act. Jesus said it was a visible and tangible way to demonstrate our faith in Him. A bag of groceries and necessitates left at the front door might be a significant way to show love. And God bless the health care workers who demonstrate love every day with a hands on approach.
Dear Lord, help me to find creative ways to obey your command to love. AMEN