by Phyllis Zhou, MMS Missionary in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
It was the first time that our church, Christ Methodist Church @ Khon Kaen, conducted a Maundy Thursday service on 6 April 2023. It was also the first time our team took turns to wash the feet of our disciples.
For someone who likes cleanliness, instead of being uncomfortable, it was liberating that I didn’t have to plan for small group or prepare bible study. All I needed to do was to wash my disciples’ feet - serving them with humility, heart, and hands.
It dawned upon me that as leaders, we often load expectations upon ourselves and hope to bear fruit. Jesus reminded me to serve our disciples with love. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to solve their problems in life and finding ways to help them grow deeper in Christ. However, Jesus didn’t come as an example of a problem solver; Jesus came to serve because of love.
On the same night Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He told them, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, ESV)
We started by washing the feet for our leaders. Thereafter, these leaders washed the feet of their disciples. In the end, my husband Vince and I realised that our feet were not washed by anyone. To me, it felt like a privilege to follow Jesus whose feet were not washed by anyone too. Jesus came to serve, and not to be served. It became a sacred moment for us as we were being humbled and yet we had the privilege of being in that same position. We were reminded that we came here to serve them, and not to be served.
We may come from a more affluent country or hold a higher education, but these things don’t matter in the eyes of God. Some of our church members may address us as Aarjaan (which means professor, revered, or respected one) and look to us as those with higher status.
However, on that Maundy Thursday night, we showed them that we are not merely leaders; we are their servant leaders. We are simply called to serve and love the way Jesus did.
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:13-15, ESV)
Instead of sharing the different responses from our leaders and disciples, I’d like to share what my daughter, Faith, experienced: “I felt cleaner on the inside. When Aunty Pheung washed my feet, I was reminded of how Jesus’ blood cleansed me.”
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