Colin Hoogerwerf served as a wilderness guide at Camp Fowler and currently works as an outreach coordinator at the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
On the night when Jesus knew his time with the disciples was coming to a close, he knelt down and washed the feet of his disciples. Simon Peter, when Jesus came to him, was hesitant; I imagine he pulled his feet away and eyed Jesus with confusion. Simon Peter knew that Jesus was his Lord, and no lord should kneel at the feet of his subject.
From this story we can learn both about serving others and being served by others. Being a true servant takes deep humility. The humility was only natural for Jesus, and after the washing he tells them, “Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” In our quest to be like Jesus, we must learn to serve with such humility. He did not kneel and wash those feet with the intention of getting anything in return, or to gain respect, or to cause guilt. Christ-like service must come from a deep love.
As we go forward washing one another’s feet—metaphorically or otherwise—we must also learn from Simon Peter, who was both too cautious and then too eager to be served. There will be times in our life when we will need the service of others. This can take a great deal of courage. Being served by others can give us a false sense of superiority. It can lead us to think we no longer need to be servants. But in a life of discipleship, we must learn to have our feet washed and to receive acts of service with humility and gratitude.
Prayer: Lord, please give us the courage and the humility to serve others and also to be served by others. Untangle our pride from our actions so that we may have a servant’s heart. Amen.
The 2015 Lenten reflections were submitted by staff, volunteers, board members, campers, and friends who have spent time at Camp Fowler in New York.
For this year’s Lent devotions, the days follow the Common Lectionary texts. Each author was invited to: 1.Read the passage.
2.Read a couple passages before and after the assigned day.
3.Do something else for the day, keeping the passage in mind.
4.Find a word/phrase/concept that connects with your own experience. Reflect on that.
You are encouraged to do the same.