I Am the Superior

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ROBERT CLEMENTS

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ven as Christians around the world move into the period called Lent, just before Good Friday and Easter, and make changes in their life style for those forty days; fasting, sacrificing some of their pleasures and concentrating on the sacrifice Jesus made in his death, what fascinates me is the scene of the washing of feet that Jesus did just before he died.

According to the scriptures his disciples and he gathered in a room where they partook of, what is traditionally known as the ‘Last Supper’ together. Before leaving the room, and after the meal, Jesus knelt down asked for a basin of water and washed the feet of everyone of his followers.

Why did he do it?

Interesting isn’t it?

It was a lesson in servant leadership. Also an example in humility: That however big or great you are, your duty is to serve.

A certain writer whom I know well, was doing some work for a religious organization, in which a junior priest was to send the matter by a particular time and the writer would put it together and bring out a monthly newsletter. The priest who obviously had a chip on his shoulder, maybe resenting the fact that he himself could not bring out a newsletter of that quality was quite harsh on the writer, and treated him pretty shabbily especially since he was the person who made out the monthly cheeck.

One day the writer in frustration messaged the junior priest, ‘I would like to meet your superior!’

Pat came the reply, “’I am the superior!’

I wonder whether that priest like all other priests takes part in the symbolic washing of feet that has become so part of church tradition? I wonder, whether he with all his church members watching, washes the dirty feet of his parishioners? “Look at Father!” they say, “See how humble he is!”

What they need to see is that message sent by him, which the writer has carefully kept and shown me.

And the same goes with our political leaders: Come election time and the posters show humble, saintly faces looking down from billboards and hoardings, “Look at me!” they say, “I am your servant!”

It takes just a few days after their victory to see all that humility being wiped out. They get into their huge limousines, sit in the back seat and try to give the appearance of princes and kings.

How much good it would do if they started serving the people who voted for them! What a difference it would make if they realized they were elected by the people, for the people.

My mind goes back to the scene of the Last Supper, at the look of absolute shock and surprise on the faces of those whose feet are being washed. I look in my mind’s eye at that saintly face, concentrating on his washing of a dirty foot!

Could we learn to do likewise, instead of shouting, ‘I am the superior..!’

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