"Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love."
With these words John begins his account of the night before Jesus died. He tells a tale of the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus, and a long series of challenges and commands and encouragements before they leave and pray and events unfold.
Last night, as I spoke on this, a thought occurred to me. About the foot-washing. About Jesus assuming that role.
How many times have you been for a pizza or pasta & the waiter has come after serving the food with an vastly oversized grinder, and stood there offering, "Pepper?" How many times have we all been amused by the absurdity of the situation (do we really need that much pepper?), just quietly refused or embarrassedly accepted as the enormous grinder comes over our shoulder?
How many times have you noticed the face of the waiter offering the pepper?
In Jesus' culture, the servant who washed the feet of the guests was the waiter with the pepper grinder. Always there at the restaurant. Never noticed. The task needed doing in a place where the dust of the day covered you and you were all but barefoot. But nobody saw who took care of it.
Except on this occasion, Jesus showed them the full extent of his love by giving that person a face. They most certainly saw who the pepper guy was that night. And in that action Jesus showed them that he saw who it was every time. No person was beneath his notice, beyond his sight. His love sees all, reaches all, embraces all, dies for all, and raises all.
"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." I have given you faces. Each of you. Every last one of you. Now do the same: treat every person with this love and dignity, for every person is worth loving - to death. Don't fail to see what I see; receive my love and share it.