Foot washing

Pauline Kennedy

30.8.2017 | Congregational Life, Presbyterian Women, Women's Ministry

As summer begins to fade, Pauline Kennedy reminisces about barefoot summer-time walks on the beach and the subsequent need to wash her feet of the sand. Reminded that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in an act of humility and servanthood, Pauline wonders how much are we investing in the lives of others?

A long walk barefoot on the beach is one of my favourite summer activities, despite the fact that it takes ages to wash the sand off my feet. In John 13:1-17 we read of feet that were getting washed and dried at the Last Supper. The Apostle writes (v5) “… He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round Him.”

All those bunions, corns, callouses, and cracked heels, not to mention the smell, the dirt and toenails! The thought of it makes me shudder because I don’t like feet! But there was Jesus, washing and drying those feet. What a picture! I am not too sure if many of us would pin that to our fridge door. Yet it’s the snapshot Jesus never wants us to forget, the picture of utter humility and servanthood.

As women we like to think we are good at washing, good at serving, good at doing all the work! But are we good at being humble about it? Do we do it sacrificially? Do we pro-actively look around us in our church family, at our women’s groups, in our communities and ask God to show us who needs help, who needs someone to walk alongside them and draw them to Christ?

Essence of true Christian service

As well as pointing us to the cross, Jesus’ ‘foot-washing’ points us to the essence of true Christian service. Having had their (the disciples) feet washed, Jesus tells them (and all of us) to do the same for others. What is the essence of your women’s group? As others look in what do they see? Do they see women living for Jesus and loving each other sacrificially? Do they see women serving out of a sense of duty or love? Do they see women united with heartfelt passion and vision being His disciples and making disciples?

In His power we need to serve in ways that are humble, sacrificial and always seeking the good of others. As we get ready for a new session serving God and each other, we need to ask ourselves why we are doing what we do? Are we blessing and serving others because Jesus first served us? ‘...He got up…and wrapped a towel around his waist’ (v4).

Serving and sharing faith

As we look ahead and all that is in store, it is my prayer that women throughout our congregations will do what Jesus tells us to do and wrap our towels around our waists and do all that we can to serve and share our faith effectively every day with those around us.

Pauline Kennedy is Women's Ministry & PW Development Officer. She is responsible for supporting the ministry of Presbyterian Women, as well as assisting in the development of strategy and coordination of women’s ministry in general.

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