“Lent is a season of preparation, but it should never be morose – an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. After all, it is meant to be our springtime, when out of the darkness of winter’s deaths, a repentant, empowered people emerge.
Lent is a time of letting go of excuses for failings and shortcomings; to stop hanging on to whatever shreds of goodness we perceive in ourselves; a time to ask God to show us what we really look like.” (Bread and Wine)
Last week, I heard a story of a man who had something really wrong with his body, and after all the serious tests, they determined that he had a degenerative disease. The doctors call his wife in first and they tell her “good news”, with chemo and a lot of help from you, we believe he can be healed.
At the same, he needs a strict diet that will require you to cook all of his meals for him, you need to keep a hygienic living environment for him and you’ll need to be available to him at all times. It will rend all of your energy, but if you can do this he will live.
She walks out, the husband anxious, he asks her ‘well…what did they say?’. She responds, “the doctors said….”I’m going to die! I’m going to die…that is too much for me”, haha.
While that is silly, I’m thankful that the picture we get of Jesus’ life purpose shows us someone who doesn’t say that is too much for me or they are too much for me.
In John 13, Jesus is in a room with proud hearts and dirty feet. This final night, these last words of Jesus are a symbol of His entire life’s purpose:
1 – to reveal the true nature of God as a being of self-giving love.
2 – to become a servant and die for the sins of the world.
On the last night of His earthly life, when he wanted to show a palpable expression of love, as a way for them (disciples and us) to always remember what love was…..he washed feet.
You’ve got to grasp foot washing. These folks were walking in sandals all day long. They got dirt caked feet, toe jam leaking, and toes looking like they are throwing up gang signs. The customary actions of that day would be that the servant of the house would wash the guest’s feet when they entered the house. This action, though, was for the lowest of lows in that society. So, Jesus preforms a task reserved for – get this – the untouchables. This menial and humiliating work is the lived out illustration of His life’s purpose.
This means, if God washed feet, then there is nothing that I can say….”I won’t do.”
If God washed feet, then there is nothing that I can say….”I won’t do.”
Oswald Chambers says, “beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.”
If you’re saying….”I know……I know……I know.” Then, heed the words of Jesus in John 13:17
“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
Do we want our title or the towel? Jesus left the heights of heaven for you. For me. For the them’s in life. Jesus left his throne for a towel. We can too. Happiness in this world is to be served. Feels good to stay on the couch! But for Jesus, blessed, happy are you to give rather than receive.
Title or towel?
God is asking me to pick up the towel again in my work and relationships. Not begrudgingly (ughhhh, I guess I have to), but out of beholding the benevolent love Jesus showed and continues to show me. I serve out of the overflow of how God has served me in Christ.
While growing up in Arlington Heights, IL, it wasn’t until the start of my senior year did I start to wonder if Jesus was worth considering. For me, it took the intellectual, communal, and personal components to come together to say – yes – to Him. I like to say He captured the restlessness of my soul and like a guitar restrung my heart with the cords of eternity and it hasn’t gone back since.
Shortly after coming to know Jesus as my greatest hope and reality, my father died. Since then, I’ve taken great comfort in Corrie Ten Boom’s words, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”
Then, not long after that, a family member came out to me. For the first time this dimension of life – spirituality and sexuality – wasn’t an abstract concept, this was and is a person. After attending to them with grace and truth, an odd phenomenon kept happening to me, or has it been for something? Individuals would continually trust me with their questions, wounds, and curiosities about their sexuality. At this point, it’s climbed to 15+. From there, I’ve invested the better part of eight years being engaged with individuals and immersed in the dizzying array of literature on these areas of our personhood.
I’ve found Elizabeth Elliot’s words to have great bearing on our cultural moment: “Faith doesn’t eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.” Two prayers that have grounded and guided my life are: “I long to have faith and obedience like those I see in the Scriptures, and I long to preach the gospel to the nations.”
Those are my life’s aims. Among my love of books, reflection, and nurturing meaningful relationships, I enjoy good coffee, jazz music, golf, snowboarding, the movies, pizza (pepperoni), cooking, the mountains, and the beach as well as traveling.
I hold an MDiv from Denver Seminary, and I hope to gain more clarity on pursuing a PhD in the coming years.
I’m humbled and honored to join the WGA staff and contribute to the on-going space they are curating for every person, every story, and every beautiful and broken aspect of our human experience.
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