Washing one another’s feet during a time of social distancing

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Photo courtesy of www.LumoProject.com

In John, chapter 13, Jesus sets an example for us to follow. He washes his disciples’ feet, an incredible act of humility, service, and love; in verse 15 he says, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” We are to follow his lead and serve one another.

Over the past few weeks, as the world has entered a time unlike we’ve ever known or could have imagined, more and more people are physically separate from one another. However, our ability to serve one another, to “wash one another’s feet,” thankfully remains the same, even as it takes much different forms.

To me Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet is a beautiful act of stewardship. He uses his time to care for them, to remind them that no one person is greater than another. The stewardship of relationships is both a foundation of Jesus’ ministry and an important part of our lives with one another.

I share all this so that the idea of pairing the concept of “stewardship” with today’s reality of “social distancing” won’t seem like such a strange thing to do. If ever there’s been a moment to stop and discern what God would have us do with the time, talent, treasure, and especially the testimony entrusted to our care, it’s now. By testimony I mean how we relate to one another, whether through conversation, just being present with another person, or even washing that person’s feet.

I am encouraged by the stewardship of relationships that’s taking place as our church doors are closed, and wanted to share some of those examples in hopes of inspiring others to do the same. If you have a “virtual washing of feet” that’s happening in your life, please send it my way so MMFA can share it and we can continue to connect in meaningful ways over the weeks ahead.

As we keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open for how we can serve, for how we can steward relationships with others even when we may not encounter them in person, may we always follow Jesus’ example. No task was ever beneath Jesus, and no person was ever unworthy.

Ideas:

  1. Have children draw pictures for people in your community of faith, especially those in nursing homes who aren’t allowed to have visitors. Mail them along with an encouraging note.
  2. Call someone. Sister Sarah Jennings of Winston-Salem, NC, posted the following on Facebook last weekend (shared with her permission): “Reach out and touch someone the old-fashioned way. Call them. My church is not meeting for worship this Sunday, but we don’t have to be isolated from one another. I pulled out my church directory and made a list of several people who are dear to me that I haven’t seen in ages. I’m calling them Sunday morning to catch up with them and let them know they are important to me. There’s a very strong likelihood they will be home.”
  3. Stay aware of the needs of the human services organizations in your area. Visit their social media sites or websites for updates, or phone them. See if there is a way you can give of your time and/or talent even if you can’t go to them.
  4. Get creative with email/social media. Pick a group of people and start a virtual conversation around a specific topic, like “share your favorite memory from childhood” or “best trip you’ve ever taken and where would you love to go”. You’ll really get to know one another better. Maybe you can do this with the people who normally sit in your section during worship!
  5. Love thy neighbor. Is there someone nearby who is older who should stay home? Offer to get their groceries or run errands for them. While you’re at the store, consider buying extra food for your local food bank or food ministry.
  6. As much as it’s possible, continue your financial stewardship. Our communities of faith and non-profits need every penny already, and more-so during this time of instability. Make gifts online or mail in a check. The Moravian Ministries Foundation has a Giving Portal through which you can give to any Moravian congregation or fellowship in the Northern or Southern Provinces of the United States, as well as many of our shared Moravian ministries.

Please share ways you are washing others’ feet or that your feet have been washed by someone else; you can email them or in the spirit of this article, give me a call!

Keep well.

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Laura Watson

About the Author:

Laura joined the Foundation in April of 2012. A native of Winston-Salem and member of Home Moravian Church, she has worked in the Florida school system, at Salem College, and as Assistant Director of Laurel Ridge, the Southern Province’s camp and conference center. When she’s not busy with stewardship for the Foundation, Laura enjoys running and fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), as well as traveling with her husband, Mark. She has served on the Salem Academy and College Board of Trustees, the Salem Academy Alumnae Board, and the Triad JDRF Board of Directors.
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