Monday, April 07, 2008

Have you washed?

Today’s Reading: John 13:8-9 (NIV)

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Good morning!

It is like a scene in an old black and white film, playing over and over again in slow motion. Yesterday I served as liturgist for one of our worship services at Faith Church. When it came time to serve communion, it is our practice for all communion servers to use disinfectant prior to serving the elements. Jeff washed and then served himself, and moved to the front of the altar. He then invited those who were to assist him to come forward. I quickly walked behind the altar and used the disinfectant on my hands, but he had his back to me and did not see me wash. Two additional communion servers came forward and washed their hands. As I began to reach for the plate holding the bread of life, Jeff pulled the tray back and whispered, “Have you washed?” “Yes,” I replied, and he handed me the tray. This brief encounter lasted no longer than two to three seconds, but it will remain etched in my heart for the rest of my life.

When we offer the bread of life to the world, we take Christ’s incomparable gift of grace in our own hands and extend it to another human heart. We dip our hands daily into the stuff of life. We eat, work, and play with our hands. Microscopic residues remain from the things we touch and are hidden in tiny crevices on our palms and fingertips. Have I washed? Am I really clean enough to serve another human heart Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin? Are my hands free from the residue of the wrongs I've committed in word and action? Will I contaminate Christ’s perfect love with my own human imperfections?

Simon Peter really did not want Jesus to wash his feet. They were cracked and dirty from walking in sandals all day long. It was time to wash up for supper, and he knew if the Lord washed his filthy feet, He would quickly lose his appetite. Christ insisted, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

It takes more than a simple disinfectant to wash my hands. Jesus Christ Himself must wash me in His precious healing blood. It is only in Christ that I will ever be clean enough to extend His love to others. If I am not willing to the Lord wash me from the inside out, I have no part with Him.

When Peter realized what Jesus had said, he decided a full-body bath was in order. I realized the disinfectant we use prior to serving communion is not nearly enough to remove the residue of my sin. I must allow Jesus Christ to wash me from head to toe. It is only through His cleansing blood that I am made sin-free; germ free. And when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!

Have you been washed by the only One who has ultimate authority to clean up your life? No amount of disinfectant can make you clean enough. Have you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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