By its very nature, ministry tugs at one’s heart and soul. So many times over the last 10+ years, I have been moved by the work I do. One favorite ministry memory was during Holy Thursday 2015. My associate and I go back and forth every year about footwashing. He says, it’s not Maundy Thursday without it. I say, yes, but people get so uncomfortable we usually have no one participate. Not a single soul except the pastors. Handwashing, they’ll do. Footwashing, everyone looks at their laps and stays frozen in the pew.
So we tried a new approach. We planned a simple soup supper and integrated worship and communion into the meal. Outside the sanctuary, around our “supper table” set up in the parlor, we first gathered the children and asked them to be brave. We told them the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and asked them if they were braver than the adults, and they kicked off their shoes. We washed their feet, and they giggled and laughed with delight. Then the adults came forward and asked to help, to wash, and to be washed. Starting with the children made all the difference to break the tension and bring warmth, tenderness, and even humor into the moment. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we raised a generation of children who ran to wash the feet of others, who understood the power of both serving and being served?