Gather the household to a spot where are all comfortable. Maybe the dinner table, the family room or a child’s room. Read the story of John 13: 1-17, 31b-35, “Jesus washes the disciples’ feet” from a favorite early reader Bible or children’s Bible. This Bible story is traditional read at Maundy Thursday worship services. Have a bowl of water, a wash rag and a towel handy.
As you read or tell the story take the time to stop and wash the hands of those in your home. In Jesus’ time feet would get dirty as one went about one’s day. In our culture and time hands are far more likely to be dirty and need washing. Use a favorite scented soap. After you have washed each other’s hands and finished the story talk about the points below or add your own thoughts!
For children: We take care of things that are very important to us. We clean our toys if they get dirty, clean our rooms, our clothes, shoes, etc. Jesus washes the disciples feet, does Jesus think that the disciples are important to God? Jesus says to love one another as Jesus has loved us. Jesus cares for us and takes care of us-how should we treat our friends, families and neighbors? How can we show people that we love them like God loves them? Can we give food to people who are hungry? Can we talk to someone who is sitting by themselves at lunch? Can we share with our friends or siblings?
For youth and adults: Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about the importance of God in our lives. Even as a pastor I find this not always easy! But Jesus says in verse 35 that people will know where are hearts are, with God, by how we treat other people and how we talk to others. Clearly our actions can be louder than our words. But how could we talk about our faith in a non-threatening and natural way? An idea could be to just say, “when I was talking to a friend at my church yesterday….” or “it was so fun and meaningful how my church collected 100 toothbrushes for children in need….” or just be excited about whatever your church community is doing! Practice it now and then talk to friends and neighbors and invite them to Holy Week or Easter worship!*
Cleansing God, we are so grateful that you wash us with your care and love. We pray to be this same love in our church, families and community. Send us to the ones who need to be shown your love. In the name of your Son who showed us your love, amen.
Lent is a natural time to reach out to the neighborhood around us. To connect your Maundy Thursday worship with loving one another and Jesus instituting Holy Communion have worshipers bring a non-perishable food item for a local food bank or pantry. As you celebrate Holy Communion and Christ’s presence in this service, bless the food that will nourish the bodies of those in need. Thank you for showing God’s love to others!
*Lutheran Church of the Master in Lakewood, CO is currently focusing on invitation to the neighborhood. Visit www.lcmonline.org for more info.