Friday, December 3, 2010

The Basin and the Towel, Michael Card

There are so many times I don't want to be a servant; I just want to crawl into bed, read a good book on the couch, or go into the garden to do something for me. As a wife and mother, it is a frequent feeling, but giving in to that would mean chaos in the home and setting an example of selfishness. Life can be confusing and when overwhelmed we can easily give in to running away rather than serving.

When I was a little girl of six, I did just that! The neighbors owned a huge (what seemed to me then) swing set with a metal swinging contraption about 5 feet off the ground. We called it "the trapeze" and felt powerful and big when allowed to play on it. Seldom was I a willing child when I was called home. Other (older) children could stay, so why not I? It was getting late in the day, but I didn't think about that--I had a plan! I asked my mother to pack me a bag because I was leaving home. She obliged, handing me a big brown bag with my bear, Roy Rogers,
a jacket, my blanket, and some nuts for dinner. I ran back to the swing set, but I was all alone. Actually, my Dad had trailed me, but I was too little to notice. Once the excitement had fled, I wandered home, rang the doorbell, and waited. My mother (slowly) came to the door, opened it, and seemed not to recognize me. I told her I was ready to come home now. I was totally amazed when she told me they had had a little girl, but she ran away! She quietly closed the door leaving me to stand there in the darkening yard. Wow! What a wake up call! I ran around to
the other doors. They were having dinner without me! There were others (my younger brothers and sister) who had to be cared for as well. They soon welcomed me back home and teaching was administered, but I had learned that life did not revolve around me and that there were the responsibilities of life and other's needs. My parents had sacrificed a quiet evening at home to train up a wayward, willful daughter with wisdom and patience. I grew up a lot that day! I witnessed their service to our family and in time called to Jesus asking for power to be a servant like Him. I haven't arrived, but am so thankful for the exhortation in this song.

"He got up from the supper and took off His outer garment and wrapped it around himself." John 13:4

"John records none of Jesus' parables because for him Jesus' life was a parable. The foot-washing was just such a moment of meaning."- M. Card

In an upstairs room, a parable
is just about to come alive.
And while they bicker about who's best,
with a painful glance, He'll silently rise.
Their Savior Servant must show them how
through the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.
In any ordinary place,
on any ordinary day,
the parable can live again
when one will kneel and one will yield.
Our Saviour Servant must show us how
through the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the space between ourselves sometimes
is more than the distance between the stars.
By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow
we take up the basin and the towel.

Supporting Scriptures:
"And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all." Mark 9:35

"The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." John 12: 25-26

"Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God." 1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

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