Do We Have the Courage to Wash Each Other’s Feet?

I have been grieving a lot lately. People dying always hurt my heart, and when it seems so tragic it hurts even more. I’ve also been grieving the reaction of so many people passionately defending their positions.

Watching people’s reaction has been painful in a different sort of way. The more reactions I’ve seen, the more separated it appears we are as a nation. My sister, who lives in Europe, even posted that she was scared to come visit the U.S. because of all the violence.

I’ve also been praying a lot, praying for black lives matter, praying for blue lives matter, and more than anything, praying for Christians to lead us towards breaking the cycle.

Could you imagine what would happen if all the Christians in the United States decided we would simply wash each other’s feet? Even if we could muster the courage to do this for one day, the world would be a different place.

What do I mean by washing each other’s feet? You can read the story in the Gospel of John 13:1-17 (click here). Essentially, Jesus wants to give the disciples an example of what it means to serve one another, Jesus is literally teaching them how to love one another.

In this example that Jesus gives us, there is a verse that feels particularly relevant in our current culture: John 13:4 -- “So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”

 Jesus does something in this moment that feels really important in this season of our lives; Jesus takes off his outer garment. Jesus essentially strips to his undergarments. Jesus becomes vulnerable.

As I pray through what this means for me, I have realized something really important: In order to truly be able to serve others, I need to take off my outer garment and become vulnerable.

My outer garment is that I am a middle class white male who will never know what it means to live without white privilege. My outer garment is that I will never know the fear of what it means to not know if I am coming home because my job puts me in the line of danger.

My outer garment is the ignorance of always being comfortable in my life.

In order to serve the world around us, to change the cycle of violence, to interrupt the status quo, we the concerned, we the frustrated, and we the ones who claim to follow Jesus Christ will have to find away to become vulnerable.

Vulnerability is admitting what we do not know, and having the courage to sit at the feet of those who are different from us in order to see how they live in the same world that I call home.

Being vulnerable is the most courageous thing we can do to break the cycle of pain. Love requires vulnerability.