Home / Resources / Online Resources / ...
Lent 2011

Let Us Serve One Another

Day 44: Maundy Thursday

By Tupou Seini Kelemeni, director, Women's Division

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean." After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "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. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

—John 13:1–17

As I reflect on the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, one thing becomes clear to me. Jesus' intention is for us to serve one another. He set the example throughout his travels and throughout his life, even at a young age. He helped his mother, Mary, take care of his siblings, and he assisted his father, Joseph, in his carpentry shop. Much like a young girl or boy should be in our modern day. A lifetime of service starts right at home.

Forty years ago, my husband and I, with our 1-year-old son, with my Auntie Maile in tow, left for Hawaii. Several weeks before leaving Tonga, in speaking with my folks about it, I could feel the reluctance in my parent's voices as we discussed our moving to such a far away country (or so it seemed). My Auntie Maile (Dad's older sister) piped up and said, "I'll go with them and help her take care of the baby while they go to school and work." Auntie Maile taught at the Wesleyan Mission school for girls in Nuku'alofa, for a mere stipend of a salary. Now, she's offering her services, where she would have to quit her job, leave her home, to help our little family for practically nothing? Auntie Maile is now 94 years old and still active at the San Bruno United Methodist Women's unit in California, where she had moved to take care of my sister's two children (now grown,) after my five children were all grown. A lifetime of service equals sacrificial love.

Holy Jesus, we give you glory and praise for all your mercies.

Two weeks ago, we observed The Call to Prayer and Self-Denial service at both of our two language circles. We talked about the retired deaconesses and missionaries and their work, as they are the recipients of this year's offering. During our programs, we shared with one another what different lives we lead, and how each one can choose what to pursue in life. Naturally, every person has to think of what one is going to gain or lose at every turn. One woman pointed out how our deaconesses and missionaries must have faith large enough to move mountains. I said, "Wow! That observation is spot-on!" How else would these women go out in the mission field and accomplish all that they do if they didn't have faith in Christ? If they didn't have complete trust in God? A lifetime of faithful service means commitment, dedication and witness.

On this Maundy Thursday, it is my hope and prayer that each of us will have a chance to reflect on what Jesus did to his disciples' feet. What his action said to me is, serve one another, help one another, love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you. Do not underestimate your power to serve because it is within everyone of us. We have been empowered by the Holy Spirit, just like the disciples, to go out and serve and love others. The apostle Paul said that everyone "gave according to their means, and even beyond their means," so do not hold back on your ability to love and to serve. A lifetime of servanthood, is a lifetime with our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Come Sunday, oh, come Sunday. That's the day!


Holy Jesus, we give you glory and praise for all your mercies. We are not worthy of your attention and love. However, we live by your promise to be with us to the ends of the earth. Give us the strength and the courage to also live by your example so that we can witness and proclaim your goodness wherever we may be. We pray this in your Holy Name. Amen.

Last Updated: 04/15/2014

© 2014 United Methodist Women