Changing Diapers

Do you understand what I have done to you?…If then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet you ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:13-14

I think sometimes we read this story and imagine Jesus bending down, rubbing off a little dust with a white cloth and some clean water.

Photo by Amanda Sinnen

I really don’t think we realize how humbling an act it really was. I’ve been at foot-washing ceremonies before, and while moving, they really don’t do justice to what is happening in this passage of John. In those times, people drug their feet through all sorts of dirt, droppings and otherwise. And washing them? The job of a servant.

Picture this—bending your face near to the stench of days of sweat, dust, and dung, using youe hands, a small basin—washing twelve grown men’s feet, making them clean.I think the cultural equivalent of Jesus’ act would have to be changing diapers, maybe worse!

What I see is this: Jesus didn’t just love in speech. He didn’t proclaim his affection in only words or ideals. He lived it. And we were never meant to love with only words. ( 1 John 3:18)

My question is this: are we willing, as Jesus was, to deal with the dirt of humanity? And as Walter Wangerin challenged me, I challenge you, “Change people’s diapers.”


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