Morning Prayer Summary for Thursday, April 6, 2023

Pastor Heather…

Good morning. Welcome to Morning Prayer in the Chapel. We’re so glad you’re here this morning.

The events of Easter week…

This Easter week, I like to look at what was Jesus doing today. What was He doing on those days leading up to the cross? These are the days that we remember. We celebrate these days. Tomorrow, of course, being Good Friday, the day that He was crucified, and Saturday just waiting… And then, of course, Sunday, His resurrection. But today in the Bible, technically, what He was doing was having that Last Supper and washing the feet of the disciples. And that’s one of my favorite stories. I love the story of Jesus taking that time to dine with the disciples, to fellowship with Him. And then, of course, we have that communion moment that comes out of that as well. And what is the most intimate thing you can do with your friends? To eat with them. So you don’t ask your enemy like, “Hey, person that I really hate, do you want to go out for dinner together?” You only do that with people that are close to you, people that you love and you want to sit and dine with them, you want to fellowship with. And we sit with our families and we eat and fellowship.

The Last Supper

There’s something that happens over that breaking of bread and that fellowship that unites us with each other. And so Jesus takes this moment, the Last Supper, and He’s eating with the disciples. I love John. John is my favorite. Everybody has a favorite disciple, right? John is my favorite because he was the disciple Jesus loved. And so I like to say, “Well, I’m the one that Jesus loves.” And so you find your person that you identify with in the Bible, because we all have different calls and different things within us. But I love John and I love that moment.

“One of you will betray me…”

And it says John was laying his head on Jesus’s chest. And then Jesus says, “One of you is about to betray Me.” And they’re all, “Who is it? Who is it? Is it you? Is it me?” The disciples are all chattering. And then Peter signals to John, like “ask Him.” Because John is laying his head right on His chest. So he knows that John has that connection. And so Peter signals to John. I could just see Peter going, “Ask Him who it is.” And so, of course, John asked Him. And that’s when He reveals that it’s Judas. He says, “It’s the person that I’m going to take this piece of bread, dip it in the bowl, and I’m going to pass it to this person. That’s who’s going to betray me.”

Judas had a choice …

And so that act of taking the choice piece of food and dipping it and passing it to somebody is a sign of very intimate friendship. And so you think of what Judas was about to do. Jesus knew. But He also took that moment to welcome him into that intimacy. Judas had a choice. And then it says that at that moment Satan entered Judas’ heart and Jesus said, “Whatever you need to do, go do it.”

And so I think it was that contrast of the things that Judas was already thinking of… betraying, getting money, turning Him over. Who knows all the other thoughts that were going on in his head at that time. Maybe he thought, “Well, Jesus is like really high on Himself and I’m going to cut Him down.” Who knows? Who knows what he thought. Back in that day, of course, it was blasphemous to call yourself God. And so I’m sure there was a lot of things going on in Judas’ head. But at that moment when Jesus dips the bread and hands it to Judas, it says Satan entered his heart. And I believe it was like that contrast of like, “I allowed you in my inner circle as an intimate friend.” And Judas couldn’t receive that because he knew what he was about to do. And so it said Satan entered his heart and he went. That was just a side story. That’s not where I’m going to go today.

Jesus washed the disciples’ feet…

But I wanted to talk about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. I love this moment. And you think of Jesus. I mean, if any of you have ever had like, let’s say a medical procedure. And leading up to it, you are stressed about it. Let’s just be honest. You’re thinking about it and you’re trying to pray and like, “Oh God, I just pray that you’re just going to move on the hands of the doctors.” And if something significant or traumatic is going to happen on a certain date, your thoughts are consumed with that. And so just contrast that with Jesus now. He knows He’s going to be crucified. He knows He’s going to be nailed to a cross. Imagine the thoughts. It says in the garden, He sweat tears of blood because He’s trying to line up His will with the Father’s will. And you think of that. So here He is. In my mind, I’m thinking He’s battling every day. Like, this is coming… this is coming… this is coming. But on this day, He takes time to eat with these people that He’d been walking with so closely. He invited them into His inner circle. He takes time to eat with them. He takes time to wash their feet. And it just shows you how loving and selfless our Savior was in that moment.

I would’ve been like, “You all just go figure it out. I need to be by myself right now because I got some things to figure out.” But He doesn’t do that. He invites them in and He loves them. And He intentionally has this moment, and not only a moment of inviting them in and dining with them and fellowshipping with them, but a moment of humbling Himself to wash their feet. It was like the most base thing that He could do that was like what the servants did when you walked in the house. Because in that day, they wore sandals. And so their feet were so dirty, so gross, cut up. They’d been walking in dirt all day. They didn’t have cars and all that kind of stuff like we do. And so their feet were extremely dirty. And that was something that a servant would do as you walked into somebody’s house.

But Jesus took that moment to show them that not only am I your Lord and Savior, and I’m about to do this thing for you, die for you. But I’m also going to show you how humility works and how I want to serve you because I love you.

And so in John 13:1. It says, “Jesus knew the night before Passover would be His last night on earth before leaving this world to return to the Father’s side. All throughout His time with His disciples, Jesus had demonstrated a deep and tender love for them. And now He longed to show them the full measure of His love.”

Peter objected to having Jesus was his feet…

So let me skip down. So then He talks about Judas. And so then He says, “So now Jesus was fully aware that the Father had placed all things under His control.” Verse three, “For He had come from God and was about to go back to be with Him. So He got up from the meal and took off His outer robe and He took a towel and wrapped it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples dirty feet and dry them with a towel. But when Jesus got to Simon Peter, he objected and said, ‘I can’t let you wash my dirty feet. You’re my Lord.’ Jesus replied, you don’t understand the meaning of what I’m doing, but soon it will be clear to you. Peter looked at Jesus and said, you’ll never wash my dirty feet. Never! But Peter, if you don’t allow Me to wash your feet, Jesus responded, then you will not be able to share life with Me. So Peter says, ‘Lord, in that case, don’t just wash my feet, wash my hands and my head.’ He’s so extreme. He goes from one extreme to the next. “Jesus said to him, you’re already clean. You’ve been washed completely, and you just need your feet to be cleansed. But that can’t be said of all of you. For Jesus knew which one was about to betray Him, and that’s why He told him that not all of them were clean. After washing their feet, He put His robe on and He returned to His place at the table. Do you understand what I just did? Jesus said. You’ve called Me your teacher and Lord, and you’re right for that’s who I am. So if I’m your teacher and Lord and have just washed your dirty feet, then you should follow the example that I’ve set for you and wash one another’s dirty feet. Now do for each other what I have just done for you.” And I love that story.

A personal reflextion…

I wanted to read to you something that I wrote after 2020. You know, 2020 was a big shaking year for a lot of us… for the whole nation… for the whole world, really. The things that we thought were absolutes, all of a sudden, we realized were not absolutes. It shook some things, some ideas that we had as far as like, I’ll always have enough or I’ll always have this or I’ll always have that. And then, of course, 2020 comes along and everything just gets really shaken up in all the nations really. And so it was a tough year for a lot of people.

But after 2020, I was praying about it. And we were going into 2021 and the Lord put this on my heart and I just felt like it was appropriate to share today because it is about washing things away. And I believe when Jesus washed the disciples feet, He was washing some things away on them. This is a little long, but I just want to read it as I wrote it because I think it will be powerful and I think it will be helpful to a lot of people.

A child’s memories…

“When I was little, every summer I would go to a cabin on a lake up north at my grandparents. I would go with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from those times on the lake in that little cabin. I can still hear the distant sound of the screen door slamming and the old wood floors creaking under my feet. I can still smell the lake air, the old blankets, the bonfire smoke in my hair. I can still feel the smooth lake rocks under my feet and the tickle of the minnows nibbling my toes.

But my favorite cabin memory of all is of my grandma washing my feet. Night would fall and as the loons began their peaceful calls out on the lake, Grandma would have a large galvanized tin bucket with warm soapy water out on the deck. We would run around barefoot all day, and so our feet would be filthy by bedtime. And she didn’t want those dirty little feet in the clean sheets. (I don’t blame her. I understand now. I didn’t get it then.) So every night she would stop us before we went into the cabin, and she would wash our feet out on the front deck steps. I can still remember the way the warm sudsy water felt on my cold, dirty, callous feet.

After a long day of running around barefoot on the beach sand, dirt paths, sharp rocks, tree roots, pine cones, and fallen leaves, my feet would be so dirty, calloused, and scraped up. When the sun went down, the bonfire fun began. Roasting marshmallows and making tonka pies. (If you don’t know what those are, Google it.)

The chill of the night air at the lake was enough to make my little toes numb, so plunging my frozen feet into that warm bucket of water sent happy shivers up my spine. Grandma would smile at me, and then she would slowly, lovingly begin to wash my feet. She was never short with me or upset at how dirty my feet were. I think she honestly enjoyed this time with me as much as I did, if not more. She was a gentle, sweet soul. My grandma had such a peace about her. I know now that the peace that she carried with her was from her walk with God.

And I would find out later in life that she prayed for me every day. And I wasn’t a believer at that time. I believe a lot of who I am and where I am today is a result of both of my grandmas’ prayers. Prayers are effective. We would talk about the day’s happenings as she washed the dirt of the day away from my feet. I would tell her how I chased Snoopy, their black and white border collie as he barked at the waves lapping on the shore, or how I sat silent and still for hours in the shallow end of the lake until the fish came to nibble my toes. I was always so close to catching one in my hand. She would smile, giggle, and wink at me as she washed my feet. Funny how something so simple has become so meaningful to me now.

There’s something very symbolic about foot washing…

The action of literally and figuratively washing away the dirt of the past that you’ve walked, the places you’ve been, the scrapes and bruises you may have picked up along the way. And most importantly, having someone who loves you enough to humble themselves to do that for you. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet the night before He was crucified. This moment was so important that He took the time to do this humble, sacrificial act on His last night of earth when He was with us as a man.

I believe a lot of us need to wash away the dirt and debris of these past few years, to put the feet of our heart into that warm sudsy water and allow God to lovingly wash away the buildup of a long, difficult season. Allow His hands to massage the cuts and bruises of loss and pain. Allow the water of His Word to soak and soften your calluses of cynicism and the walls of self-preservation. Allow the warmth of His touch to reach the coldest parts of your preconceptions or judgment. Take time to talk to Him about the past few years’ happenings, things you’ve lost, things you’ve learned, things you’ve kept inside, and things you’ve numbed because of the staggering amount of pain and strife around you. Allow yourself to see the dirt of this difficult season being washed away today. Recognize how the journey through the season may have left you feeling tired, dirty, calloused, bruised and scraped. But you made it. And you never walked the path alone. God was there each step of the way, whether you felt Him or not. Whether you saw Him moving or not. Whether you allowed Him in or not. He was still there and He walked with you each step of the way.

Ask God to show you where He was during this season…

You might be surprised at what He shows you. Let’s allow Him to wash the dirt of a difficult season away before we slip into the clean sheets of our next season. Let Him restore hope and soften your hearts to feel and express His love to ourself and to others. Fresh and new this year. And finally, let’s rest in His peace. The rest that only comes after a long day when you finally slip your clean, soft feet into your fresh sheets and lay your tired head down on the pillow. The rest that only comes when you know you are fully loved, fully known, safe, protected, and cared for.

He’s already walked out into all of our tomorrows and made a path for us with everything we need. And if our feet get dirty along the way, He’s waiting for us at the close of each day with a warm bucket of soapy water and a loving smile on His face. He might even have a little laugh or a wink for us too.


And so we do that, Father. We just allow you to just wash away the dirt of this season. We’ve all walked some rough terrain, some hard paths. And that night when you washed the disciples’ feet, I believe you were just preparing them for their next season. And so we thank you, Father, that though this last season might have brought a lot of difficulties for a lot of people, we just allow you to wash that away right now. We thank you, Father that you wash over our hearts.

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