Maundy Thursday this year falls only a few weeks after the launch of Common Ground, a cross-cultural relationship-building program my church family organizes and hosts. Common Ground gives people of different cultures monthly opportunities to have thoughtful, sensitive, friendly conversations about race and reconciliation.
People have participated in Common Ground for several years, and I have heard more than once that it is better than any “diversity training” offered by schools and workplaces. Why? Because Common Ground recognizes that reconciliation is a spiritual process, not a political or social one.
There is no greater reconciliation than the one between God and people. In fact, that reconciliation is what makes any other reconciliation possible. The sacrifice Christ demonstrated by moving into our neighborhood, the lengths God is willing to go to in order to get our attention, the sincere and selfless hope He has that we will respond—these are models for me in all my relationships, particularly the most difficult ones.
At Living Springs Community Church, we mark Maundy Thursday with a foot-washing ceremony. For some people (including me), this can be uncomfortable—it’s very personal, and unusual, and a little awkward.
But maybe that discomfort is necessary. After all, it was uncomfortable—scandalous, even—for the first disciples when their Rabbi knelt before them like a servant. Maybe that discomfort kept them from getting the point right away, but I’m guessing the image was burned into their memories and gradually seeped into their own relationships.
I believe it can do the same for me.