Sunday, April 24, 2011

John 13: What a crazy idea

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

But before he did that, a disciple wearing a beret and a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of Jesus wearing a headband stood up and said, "Lord, it's time to be forceful about your kingdom. Turn the mob against these running dog gentile overlords. John here likes to write - appoint him your Minister of Propaganda. The people will rise up and overthrow the hated oppressors! And to deal with those who don't, Peter here is good with a sword, make him the leader of your Revolutionary Army. You're always praying 'thy kingdom come,' now you need to make it happen."

A second disciple dressed in a fine linen suit and wearing an expansive sundial on his wrist said to Jesus, "that's right, Teacher, it's time to make your kingdom happen. But not by revolution. You need to seize control of the political system. This will take money - appoint Joseph of Arimathea your chief fundraiser. With money, you can held Nicodemus build a power base on the Sanhedrin and make friends with the Romans. Pretty soon you will have real power. You really will be the King of the Jews."

A third disciple told the first two, "that is so worldly. We are called to be separate. Why concern yourself with the rest of the world? As long as we are taught, healed and fed, who cares what happens to all those sinners?" 

Jesus said nothing in response. He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

"Sentimental," snorted the revolutionary.

"Clueless," sniffed the politician.

"Not exactly seeker-friendly," whined the separated but self-focused saint.

Then Jesus said, "you call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet."

Listening closely, three other saints - Damian of Molokai, Amy of Dohnavur, and Theresa of Calcutta - reached for their towels.

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