Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Basin and the Towel

From John 13

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress...Jesus knew that...he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him...When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them...


When the disciples arrive for their last meal with Jesus, someone has forgotten something important. The servant who is assigned the task of washing the feet of the guests is not present. Can you picture the scene? As each man looks around, each one takes note that no one is there to serve in the accustomed way. And one by one they reject the humble place and choose pride--they each choose to sit down. If they were indeed seated in the Roman way of reclining on couches, might not a pair of dirty feet be much too close to the face of a friend?

And then there is Jesus. Perhaps he waits a moment to see what will happen. And then their holy rabbi, teacher, messiah, their companion from the road...takes up the towel.

I find this song powerful, convicting, amazing...

The words are printed below the video. There is not much to look at (just Michael Card's shiny head--smile) so if you would like, you can read along as you listen to the music of this beautiful song.



In an upstairs room, a parable
is just about to come alive.
And while they bicker about who's best,
with a painful glance, He'll silently rise.

Their Savior Servant must show them how
by the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

In any ordinary place,
on any ordinary day,
the parable can live again
when one will kneel and one will yield.

Our Saviour Servant must show us how
by the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the space between ourselves sometimes
is more than the distance between the stars.
By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow
we take up the basin and the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

2 comments:

mannaword said...

Thank you for this. It is a supreme joy to be empowered to pick up both basin and towel in reference to His.

SingingOwl said...

yes! :-) Blessed Easter, Iris.