As Christians, we share a common call to what is known as “servant leadership,” valuing the power of love over the love of power. An example of this is the ceremony on Holy Thursday of foot-washing.
Washing another’s bare feet publicly is just as countercultural today as it was during the time of Jesus, at least among so-called equals. On a recent trip to Israel, we toured the ancient remains of a house of a once-prominent member of Jerusalem’s ruling class, and in the entryway was a place allocated for the house servant to wash guests’ feet, a common custom.
Just as we might hand our car keys to a valet upon arriving at an elegant party, in Jesus’ time, such an entry would begin with having one’s dusty feet cleansed by the lowest person on the social ladder.