Feb. 23, 2012
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Traditionally, there are three aspects folks concentrate on during Lent: service, prayer and fasting. Today, we ponder service. For me, Christian service is always rooted in what God has already done for me. Christ Jesus took my spot on the cross. I receive the gift of grace freely, without any cost to me. This is offered to me simply because of God’s great love for me.
There’s no way I can adequately repay God. It’s impossible. Trying to re-compensate God is a futile act. Nothing I do or give would ever cover the cost of Jesus’ life.
I do choose how to react to what God has done for me. I can accept this great gift and appreciate it. Another way to express appreciation is to give and serve of myself to others. Jesus did this on the last night he was with the disciples when, as they gathered for the Passover meal, he removed their sandals. Then, he washed their feet. Typically, this dirty job is reserved for the lowliest servant of the household. Really – who wants to wash a bunch of dirty feet? It’s not on my bucket list.
Jesus modeled Christian behavior and service as he did this. Then he told his closest group of friends, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14-17)
Lent is an appropriate time to wash other people’s feet; maybe not literally, but figuratively. I’m challenging the Midland folks to do a “40 for 40” campaign this Lent. Think of a way that you can spend 40 minutes a day in service for the 40 days of Lent. What can you do to show God’s love to your community and the world? How might you serve God for 40 minutes between now the Easter? Here are some suggestions:
- Volunteer at school for 40 minutes
- Read to school children during your lunch break
- Assemble care packages for needy people
- Volunteer at the food pantry
- Call or visit someone
- Run an errand for a shut-in
- Take a meal to someone
- Have coffee with a grieving person
- Babysit for a young mom
- Come up with your own ideas!
You do not need to do the same thing for all 40 days. If 40 minutes seems unrealistic, make it four minutes or 14 minutes. Just wash other people’s feet. Creatively determine how you can quietly show God’s love to others and be a witness of the love you’ve experienced from God. I look forward to hearing what you did during your “40 for 40” campaign.
Let us pray: Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you. Kneels at the feet of his friends, silently washes their feet, Master who acts as a slave to them. Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you. Amen.