Love and servanthood

Jesus demonstrates his love for his friends, for his disciples by showing them that true Godly love means surrender. As we walk to the cross this week it is something we have to do always. We have to surrender our questions of why did this happen, we surrender our illusions of worldly power, we surrender to violence, we surrender to not being in total control.

See this is Peter's issue in John's gospel. He is not willing to surrender his image of Jesus, his role of disciple to the teacher. All the other disciples have allowed Jesus to wash their feet as a servant would. Jesus is stripped down, wearing a towel, and washing the dirt of the journey to the feasting place off their feet. This is the role of the servant, slave of the house. There is no choice. For whatever reason Peter finds this offensive. The image he has of Jesus has to be surrendered and he fights it. His  first objections are to it being done to him, maybe he senses how unclean he is because his ultimatum is to be entirely washed, if it be done at all. He wants his vision of what this should be, not Jesus'. He wants to realize his uncleanness in being totally cleansed, which is different than the example Jesus is setting forth.

Jacques Lusseyran was a French resistance fighter who had started his own group in 1941. He was blind, he wasn't born blind. He became blind when at the age of 7 he fought another boy in school and coming down on the edge of a desk he drove his eyeglasses into one eye and scratched the retina of the other. Barbara Brown Taylor writes about him in her article "Light without sight". She speaks of his parents not surrendering to looking at him as totally different, or Lusseyran ever emphasizing it. His parents insisted he continue with public education and not be sent to a school for the blind. A short time after his accident he discovered something about his new way of being in the world, he says, "I had completely lost the sight of my eyes; I could not see the light of the world anymore. Yet the light was still there."*

In a true sense he learned to surrender to his new situation. Not asking the why questions, or how he would make it forward, or what he was supposed to do with his life when, at that time, the only occupation left open was becoming a beggar, instead he decided to sense his inner light. This led to a whole series of new experiences for him. Ones that opened up the way to not seeing the obstacles, but to seeing his role even in World War II as one that was key in service to others.

The question is what limits us. What stands in our way of service, of showing God's love to others? Do we like Peter put up the fight and objections refusing to see things in a new in different way, or do we surrender to God's call and Jesus' example to show love, to show abundance, to show the outpouring of life given to another? Will you surrender?

*Barbara Brown Taylor, "Light without sight" The Christian Century: April 2, 2014; Vol. 131, No. 7.