It has been a tradition in Christianity to spurn the service of our brothers and sisters upon us. While we are not reluctant in the least bit to serve our brothers and sisters, as a general rule for ourselves (Christians), we give of ourselves until we are bled dry. Then we will offer our dry bones, but when the time comes for us to receive service, for us to receive love, we refuse it with such a vehemence so as to cause self-flagellating monks to take note. To disregard the service of our brothers and sisters, to refuse their roles in our lives is just as bad as refusing to serve them.
When our Lord was at the feet of Peter, what were His words? When Peter refused to be served by a Man whom he knew to be greater than himself, did Jesus back off and accept that Peter was not comfortable being served? Of course not! “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me,” Jesus says in John 13. Again in Matthew 20 and Mark 10, Jesus says “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Accepting the service of our great Lord is the precise thing that brought us into this life. Will we then take the arrogant route of assuming we are greater than the service of our Lord?
In the same passage that Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, Jesus says this to His followers, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:12-14). How on earth can we be of service to one another if nobody allows service done unto them? How can we go about imitating our Lord if we are not allowed by one another to do so?
Stop resisting. Do you not know that the love your brothers and sisters show to you comes in many different forms? To receive gifts, to receive services, to receive affection and kind words, is to accept the gifts of our Lord that He has given us to give to one another. If we are all broken, all together and all lower than the next, then we’re all just tattered rags sewn together with golden thread. To give may be better than to receive, but to receive is a gift to your friends and, ultimately, your family.
Cross-Meredith is a sophomore majoring in English. He can be reached at Cross-MeredithS@jbu.edu.