11/8/11 Jeremiah 7-9, John 13
S: John 13:12-17 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
O: This happened at the Last Supper, so Jesus was preparing for his death.
A: "Servant leadership" is easier said than done. Foot-washing has been made a regular ritual in the Roman Catholic church (the pope washes the feet of 12 men during the Mass of the Lord's Supper) and many Protestant churches where it is done on Maundy Thursday. This is a good ritual to remind us of Jesus' teaching. However, true servant leadership is harder to do than a ritual.
Churches throughout history have had to struggle with servant leadership. Church leaders from all sorts of denominations -- from popes all the way down to pastors in small congregations -- have given in to the sin of lording it over the the people the Lord entrusted to them. Extreme examples of this turn into dysfunctional situations where the pastor's word is law and the Gospel suffers for it.
Even as lay believers, there is this danger. I am just a lay leader, but the temptation of self-aggrandisement is always there. And in my role as the leader of my household, as the father, I also have to be a servant leader.
P: Father, keep me from pride, and help me to be a servant leader following Jesus' example. In Jesus' name, amen.