A Reflection for Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) by Father Lee

Father Lee's reflection for Maundy Thursday

by Father Lee Davis on April 14, 2022

A Reflection for Maundy Thursday

It was not the first time I had washed the feet of others as part of the Maundy Thursday service. But it was the first time that I had done so in the middle of an empty city lot next to a wooded area near the river that ran through Columbus.

It was the part of town known as the “Bottoms” and this particular area was where many of the homeless congregated. We were there for Street Church – and even though it wasn’t Maundy Thursday – we were bringing the experience of the Maundy Thursday rituals and stories to the homeless that gathered with us frequently for worship. Now to say that washing the feet of a few dozen people who live on the street is an experience is a bit of an understatement. Some didn’t have shoes or socks to remove, most had not bathed; their feet bore the battle scars of a rough life.

On this particular day, there were a number of people, the homeless, that I didn’t recognize. Many worshiped with us regularly and I knew most of their names – it was always a joke that I could not walk around anywhere in Columbus without one of the city’s homeless calling out my name and asking how I was doing. But this particular day there were some people I had never met. In particular, there was this one young woman, her arms scarred with the evidence of her addictions. As I knelt before her I noticed her body shaking. No words were spoken between us as I gently lifted one foot into the basin, poured water over it, cleansed it, and dried it doing the same for her other foot. Her body seemed to stop shaking and she looked at me as I finished washing her feet and she gently smiled. Smiling back, I began to get up and move to the next person and I became aware that the girl was crying.

Before I could get up, she reached up, grabbed my arm, and said, “Let me wash your feet.” At this moment I must have caught a glimpse of Peter’s reaction when Jesus took the basin and towel and attempted to wash his feet. In my mind I was thinking, “There is something wrong here – I’m supposed to be washing the feet, I am the servant, I can’t let you take that place, if anyone is going to do any foot-washing here, it will be me.”

I started to pull myself away, but her gentle grasp was still on my arm and she repeated, “Let me wash your feet.” At that moment I realized that there was more to her than met the eye. At that moment I saw Christ reflected in her and Christ was saying, “Lee, Let me serve you.”

I guess not much has changed over the 2000+ years between then and now. The Master comes and seeks to serve us, in so many ways. Often we are willing to serve Him but we have trouble receiving Christ’s ministry to us – or the ministry of others, for that matter. My prayer for all of us this Easter is that we yield – yield to Christ’s desire to serve us. Only as we allow Jesus to serve us can we then begin to serve Christ and others in Christ’s name. If we are not receiving from Jesus, then we have nothing to give others.

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