The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
What did Jesus do for his apostles? In John 13:12-17 he had finished washing their feet. He asked them what he had done for them. They didn’t seem to have much of an answer. Jesus, the Lord and teacher, cares for his apostles in a manner which would normally be considered quite demeaning. He took care of them in the way that a slave would. He humbled himself.
How are the apostles to respond? They realize that if their Lord humbled himself in this way, there is nothing that is below them. There is no position of care and service to those around them which is demeaning. It is noble, simply because it needs to be done.
While we recognize that no one of us can do everything, we also recognize that some things need to be done. As a pastor, I’ve removed ice from a parishoner’s steps in a home visit. Does something relatively mundane need attention so as to allow spiritual care to happen? So be it. We live in a kind of mundane world.
At the same time, we do need to be cautious. There are priorities in everyone’s calling. We cannot and should not try to do everything simply because it could be done. Rather, as we all work together, fulfilling our various vocations, what is needful is done. In other words, while the pastor in the pulpit knows perfectly well how to change the diaper of the baby on the fourth row from the back, it isn’t his vocation, at least not at that time. The pilot of the airplane doesn’t carry the coffee around to the people in the cabin. The pilot is busy using specialized skills to accomplish a different task. But not one of the tasks of life is below anyone.
Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. We can care for one another also.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.