“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and 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.”
Recently we saw the Pope kiss the feet of South Sudanese leaders and we all marveled at his love and humility.
The Pope; like Jesus on the day He washed the disciples’ feet; was communicating something profound about the nature of love.
Love is not simply what we do…it is who we are!
Often when we consider loving someone, we think in terms of actions and behaviors. We ask ourselves, “What’s the loving thing to do?”
But Jesus’ unexpected, self-effacing act of service leads us to ask the antecedent question, “Who am I?”
Without first asking this question, we can unknowingly place limits on our love because we are not operating out of who we are in Christ.
When; like the Pope; we look to Christ, we find a beautiful freedom to serve others, arising from the security of His identity: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…” (Philippians 2:6-7).
Jesus was able to serve in a way that no one expected because He knew the Father’s love intimately.
The same heart that led Him to wash the disciples’ feet would lead Him to the cross.
In Christ we have the same privileged status and security with the Father, and therefore; like the Pope demonstrated; we also have the freedom and the power to serve in the same radical, loving ways in which Christ has served us.
Heavenly Father, I forget each day who I am in Christ and the grace that envelops my life. My love has limits because I don’t embrace the truth of who You have made me to be. Help me to live out the reality of being Your beloved child so that my love for others will flow out of this new identity. Let me be a bewildering servant to those around me as You dismantle the limits I have placed on my love. In Christ’s Name, Amen.