During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.
Key Verse: “After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? ” (John 13:12)
John Purrington – Senior Pastor
Phillip Yancey reflects on how many are ‘either/or’ people rather than ‘both/and’. Either/or folk are focused on one place only, the things that happen here on earth or only getting to heaven one day. The world and the church are both full of either/or people. God, however, seeks both/and folk, “…people devoted to God’s creatures and God’s children as well as to God, and as committed to this life as to the afterlife, to this city as to the heavenly city.”
To illustrate this, Yancy reflects on a bus load of tourists en route to the Grand Canyon. “On the long journey across the wheat fields of Kansas and through the glorious mountains of Colorado, the travelers inexplicably keep the shades down. Intent on the ultimate destination, they never even bother to look outside. As a result, they spend their time arguing over such matters as who has the best seat and who’s taking too much time in the bathroom.” (Philip Yancey, “On the Grand Canyon Bus,” Christianity Today (September 2008), p. 102)
During Holy Week we remember how Jesus lived in this world giving himself fully as a means to life in the next. He held nothing back from the disciples, even washing their feet right before he was crucified. The importance of the journey could not be separated from the destination. The towel becomes the symbol by which we best unstained what it means to live with one foot in both worlds. An embrace of the towel in this world prepares us for life with God now and in the future. It’s a way of proclaiming to the world in witness that we serve a both/and God!
Life here matters. Loving relationships, the joy of community, the grace of being transformed into likeness of Jesus’ own love matters in this world. This is how we live out the love that’s been poured into our hearts in Christ. Embrace of the towel, the practice of crucifying fleshly cravings through service, these prepare us to begin to understand the upside down nature of the kingdom. Life here matters and we the need of transformation to prepare us for the next.
Let us not forget Jesus’ reflection at the end of today’s reading, “Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.”