Palm Sunday: Washed

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On my birthday I wash the feet of some of my dearest friends. It’s Palm Sunday, and we have small group, and my husband is worried it won’t be special enough—that my day will pass by unnoticed.
But I know.
“Tell me why we have to wash their feet again?” He wants to know.
And I want to tell him about the time we washed the feet of the children during Wednesday church. How it stilled even the most restless, how it felt to rub those grimy toes. He’s worried it will make them uncomfortable—he tells me he’s uncomfortable. And why—on my birthday—do I have to wash the feet of others? And I love him for asking, for always thinking of me.
But I know he doesn’t understand. Because the washing is the easy part.
“Because we’re the leaders,” I say, and I leave it there—praying.
In church that morning, we waved our palms and the pastor spoke about the crowd that was there—the people who witnessed the crucifixion.
“Mary was there. And John,” she said. “And don’t you know that Martha and Lazarus and their Mary were there too? Could they stay away? Just imagine,” she said. “The faces of those who loved him.”
She wondered aloud about the people he had healed. Was blind Bartimaeus there?  The lepers? I wondered too. I wondered about their discomfort—their pain.
“And soon,” she said. “Soon the threatening voices would drown out the voices of love.”
During prayer time the congregation had sung Happy Birthday to me—to me. And I sit in the pew and wonder how voices so full of love could turn so quickly. I wave my palm and think how this happens to all of us—the threatening voices drown out the voices of love.
At some point, at some place in life we will all feel the discomfort. Accusations, disagreement, anger.
Can I reach through discomfort and serve in love? Will I?
At small group they bring me a cake, and flowers, and Jennifer gives me a beautiful card she made because of something I said in Sunday school. And I bend and pour water over their feet and he dries them with a towel. Luke is crying because he’s hungry and the rest of the kids are having an Easter egg hunt upstairs.
It’s a logistical nightmare—this washing of feet—with babies and dogs and furniture crowding us. But these voices of love have braved the discomfort. As I dip my hands in warm water, rub them over chapped heels and toes…I know these feet will stand firm through any pain for me.
And it’s the best birthday gift. Washed in the water. Clean.

I’m pleased to share a Lenten devotional over at The High Calling today. Will you join me there?

With Michelle today:



  1. Jody Collins says

    ya know, I’m thinking Jesus thought church was a logistical nightmare, too…….all those hungry people clamoring on the hillside, hungry, tired. But he spoke anyway. Laura, your birthday gift sounds perfect.

  2. says

    I am reading a book on the life of Christ by John Ortberg, and yesterday I read where only slaves washed feet. My king, so humble. So forgiving. If He washes feet, then so must I.

  3. Maureen says

    I have always thought the washing of the feet one of the most intimate and giving of actions. What a special and memorable way to share on your birthday, Laura.

  4. says

    What a beautiful gift you shared with your friends. Two of our church homes practiced foot-washing as part of the Maundy Thursday worship service. For me it’s harder to allow my feet to be washed than to wash another’s. Humbling. That you desired this so earnestly for your birthday opens a window into your soul. Thank you for that brave vulnerability.

    A most blessed, though belated, happy birthday to you, dear Laura! May the year ahead be full of sincere worship, kind friends, laughter, and growth in loving and being loved by God.

    P.S. Ebony Dawg requests that I add bacon and belly rubs to that list. To each his own. 🙂

  5. Nancy Sturm says

    What a beautiful way to celebrate your birthday and a beautiful way to model Christ for them. Lovely post. Thanks, and happy birthday!

  6. says

    On your birthday of all days. I can understand because it is palm Sunday, but I can also understand your husband. Perhaps it is because I have never washed feet this way, only those of my children as they needed me in the bath. Maybe I need my feet washed too! Very humbling post!

  7. Donna says

    Happy Birthday! What a beautiful and humbling story. Washing feet. It is humbling to let someone wash our feet. Uncomfortable. Worried about offending another. What a wonderful example. Thank you for sharing.

  8. says

    What a lovely birthday you had, and how you blessed those around you too. {I’m partial to late March birthdays myself–my daughter, the 25th, my son, the 30th, my nieces, the 27th and 31st.

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