Friday, November 9, 2012

Washing Feet

Its the night before the anticipated arrival of the young women who will be moving into the Ratanak Achievement Program(RAP) Community home and this past week we have been going on overdrive as there has been so many little details to work through and some unexpected situations that have arisen so it has felt like one big juggling act.

Preparing to wash each other's feet!
But in the midst of all the crazy and busyness of our schedules, earlier this afternoon we decided to take time to reflect on John 13:1-17 and to follow the heart of our Lord in washing each other's feet as a symbolism that we want to love and serve each other and the young women who move into the RAP home just like Christ did for His first disciples. This idea first came to me when I was in Canada. I was listening to a worship song one day in church called Humble King and when I read the verse ''He washes the feet of the weary'' I had prayed that God would do that for me. Well He did do it in a most unexpected answer to prayer for at that very moment a few seats away, my senior pastor's wife Shymala was also worshipping the Lord when she sense God prompting her to wash my feet after she was singing through the same verses that I had read.
Shymala washing my feet in Canada!
Washing feet is a very humbling experience---and here in Cambodia, it is not a common sight for a person in a position of leadership to necessarily humble themselves to serve the masses for it is a culture where hierarchy exist and where respect for those in a higher position and authority is inherent and where the view ''the boss is always right'' is ingrained in mindsets.  All of this can be a challenge to navigate as one seeks to model the servant heart and humility of Christ and to lift up those who are viewed as the lowest on the proverbial totem pole.
Our staff washing each other's feet and then praying over each other
 So today, I shared several points from John 13 about how Christ showed the full extent of his love by laying down His rights, His authority and His position and used His power to serve others rather than laud it over them. He did not do this begrudingly, He did not complain and say ''why me, why do I have to do this'', He willingly chose to serve, choose to lay down His rights for His purpose is always to build up those whom he loved and who the world looked down upon.

We were reminded that unless Christ washes us and is a part of our lives, we cannot love nor serve others in His ways. We need to be united with the Vine in order to have an impact as the branch. Yet we were challenged to consider that Jesus invested in all 12 disciples for three years knowing that one of them---Judas was going to betray him but He never treated him any less than the others. Our staff were asked to reflect on the fact that as sinners we will all hurt one another from time to time and even the young women who come into our Community home could hurt us by their words or actions,  but will we treat each other like Christ and not keep a record of wrongs or will we hold onto those grudges and be resentful and seek revenge. Will we define each other by our worst moments or will we always seek to see the good in each other? It is only through Christ pouring His Spirit in us that we can have the love and grace to encourage  each other and the young women the way Christ does.

And so in following with Jesus's example, those of us who were in  ''higher positions'' on the team started to wash the feet of those who were in a "lower position." Following this we formed a circle and prayed for each other. One of our staff in her closing prayer for the team was touched by the Holy Spirit and overcome with emotion and tears as we reflected on the enormity of how Christ responded to Judas and what He did for all of His other disciples. But she was not the only one for in our small team, others found themselves sobbing and others simply in tears through this experience.

I praise God for such moments and trust that these become memorial stones for our staff and for ourselves here that whatever we do, we are doing it for the Lord---that we will lay down our entitlements and our rights and use our ''power'' to love and serve and not focus on our own needs but seek to lift up those who are bowed down in our midst.  I hope one day we will have the opportunity to see the 13 young women in our program perform a similar act of love and service to each other by washing the feet of their fellow room mates.

1 comment:

  1. That's wonderful what you guys are doing over there in Cambodia.

    Take care ~