The Living Room:  The Perfect Example for Us

John 13:1-16closeJohn 13:1-16 Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (ESV) closeJohn 13:1-16closeJohn 13:1-16 Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (ESV) Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (ESV)

Second in the series “Welcoming in God’s House”

On a Sunday morning last year, Becky, Josh and I worshiped in a church near where we were staying in Tampa.  I had checked out websites of UM churches in the area, and found some woefully out-of-date and unappealing, while others were easy to navigate, attractive and current. We drove to one of the churches with a current website and parked.  We noticed what looked like the main door of the church, but noticed no one was using it, so instead, we followed the people into a side door.  We found ourselves in a long hallway that was obviously in the education wing. There were no signs pointing us toward the Sanctuary, and no one at the door to point us in the right direction.  Because we’ve been around churches, we could guess the building’s layout and headed down the hallway.  As we came to the entrance of the Sanctuary, a greeter handed us bulletins

and smiled briefly without comment.  We walked into the Sanctuary and chose seats on the center aisle. Before worship, maybe we were invisible, because no one noticed us.  Later, during the formal greeting time, everyone stood to greet each other. We greeted the people in front of and behind us, all of whom turned out to be guests as well.  We saw people leave their pews to cross the aisle and greet their friends and carry on conversation, but no one engaged any of us guests. It’s as if everyone expected someone else to do it, but no one did.  After worship, we exited and were greeted well by the pastor, who pointed us to their hospitality coordinator. She was engaged in a conversation with another church member, which she interrupted long enough to say to us, “What do you need from me?”  We said we were guests and the pastor sent us to her. She gave us their welcome gift – a mug and brochure – and then, oddly, asked us to pray for their church.  Then she returned to her conversation. We left the building with no one else acknowledging us.  This church, located in a popular vacation area, knew how to be friendly to one another, but they didn’t know how to be welcoming to guests.

Jesus and his disciples had gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem for what turned out to be his last supper with them.  When the preparations were complete for the meal,

the disciples each arrived, and finally Jesus, the honored guest, came and took his place at the table.  During the meal, Jesus rose from the table, took a basin and towel and began to wash the disciples’ feet.

It may be hard for us to grasp just how scandalous an action this was.  Washing feet was an act of welcome and hospitality.  It was understood to be the duty of the household servant, or if no servant was available, it was the responsibility of the lowest-ranking person present to fulfill.  However, it seems, that in gathering for the meal, none of the disciples took the initiative to wash everyone’s feet.  Perhaps each of them thought it was someone else’s duty, or maybe each felt it was beneath him to kneel and do such a humble, menial task, or maybe they were all busy with other tasks.  It certainly was not the duty of the guest of honor to wash the guests’ feet.  And yet that’s what Jesus chose to do.  It was perhaps the most humble and welcoming act he did except for giving up his life on the cross on behalf of all people.

When he was finished, Jesus sat at the table again and told his disciples, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15closeJohn 13:14-15 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (ESV) closeJohn 13:14-15closeJohn 13:14-15 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (ESV) 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (ESV) ).  Later that evening, he went even further.  He said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34closeJohn 13:34 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (ESV) closeJohn 13:34closeJohn 13:34 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (ESV) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (ESV) ).

At St. Andrew’s, we say that our vision begins with “meeting Christ through extending Biblical hospitality.”  That is what we want to become.  Jesus set the perfect example for us in terms of extending hospitality to others. He went beyond the ordinary and did the unexpected to show the depth of his love and welcome – he humbled himself to

 serve others and to meet their needs.  And he did it unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. He called all of his disciples – and he calls all of us today – to embody his example. 

His example of service applies to our lifestyle as disciples, including our hospitality. In humility and for their good, we seek to serve and honor guests by extending a genuine welcome and a heart of Christian fellowship.

To help us implement that vision, last week we introduced a strategy and handed out reminder cards.  If you need a card, raise your hand and an usher will bring one to you.  Let’s do a quick review.  Our strategy is called 5-10-Link.

5 refers to TIME. We have agreed that the last five minutes before worship and the first five minutes after worship, we will all break out of our conversations with friends and seek to engage guests and others we don’t know well.  You may have noticed that countdown on the screen, which serves as our reminder.

10 refers to SPACE.  Anywhere and anytime in the building we see a guest within

10 feet of us, we will break away from what we’re doing to welcome and engage our guest.

Link refers to CONNECTION.  As we engage guests, we listen for ways to connect them to someone else based on something they have in common.  Research shows that guests feel more connected to a congregation and are more likely to return when they have made a personal connection with one or more people.

Last week, we also began a relationship by practicing introducing ourselves to others.  We compared that step to the front porch of a home.  Today we’re goi

ng a little deeper, and so our image is the living room.  We might talk to many people on our front porch, but not all of them actually get invited into our homes.  When they do, we might show them into the living room, a comfortable place to sit for further conversation. We often

 welcome them with a refreshment.  So the living room represents deeper relationships, which are formed through conversation.  In a conversation, one way to get to know someone is to ask questions and listen to the response. 

There are many possible conversation areas, so let’s just choose a few.  To help us remember those area, we’ll associate them with some objects.

So I invite you to picture in your imagination a NAME PLATE.  It’s a smooth walnut name plate like you’d see on someone’s desk, with a shiny brass plate on which the person’s name is engraved.

Sitting on top of the name plate is a HOUSE.  Picture a white house with black shutters and a white picket fence.

Standing on the roof of the house is a group of PEOPLE.  Imagine 2 or 3 adults and several children and teenagers.

The people’s hands are stretched up in a WORK GLOVE.  This is one of those yellow flannel gloves with the dark blue wrist band.

The work glove has caught on to an AIRPLANE.  This is a single-engine small airplane.

And on the front of the airplane looping around where the propeller should be is a TENNIS RACQUET.  This is one of the graphite racquets used by a tennis pro.

Let’s review the list of objects.

The first object is a NAME PLATE.

On top of the name plate is a HOUSE.

On top of the house is a group of PEOPLE.

The peoples’ hands are stretched up in a WORK GLOVE.

The work glove has caught an AIRPLANE.

On front of the airplane looping around is a TENNIS RACQUET.

These six objects will help us remember six conversation areas.  Let’s name each object and  identify the conversation area.

The first object is a NAME PLATE which reminds us to ask their NAME.  This can include not only their name, but questions about their name, such as the meaning or why they are named that.

On top of the name plate is a HOUSE.  We can find out WHERE THEY LIVE.  Ask where they live.

On the house is a group of PEOPLE.  Our area of conversation is FAMILY.  Ask who lives with them or where their family lives.

The peoples’ hands are in a WORK GLOVE, which suggests asking where they WORK, go to SCHOOL or how they SPEND THEIR TIME.  Why might we want to ask the question this way?  They might be in school, retired, work at home or be unemployed.

The work glove has caught onto an AIRPLANE – we might ask them about TRAVEL.  We can ask where they have travelled, where they want to go, where they want to return, etc.

On the front of the airplane is a TENNIS RACQUET.  We can ask about SPORTS, HOBBIES or INTERESTS.  We could ask what they do for fun or relaxation.

Let’s review all the objects and associated conversation areas:

NAME PLATE   Name

HOUSE               Live

PEOPLE              Family

WORK GLOVE Work/school/how spend time

AIRPLANE        Travel

TENNIS RACQUET      Sports/hobbies/interests

These conversation areas suggest topics we might ask about.  We may want to ask more than one question in an area, so how can we expand our conversations?  We choose from six question words:  WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.  Say those with me:  WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.

Let’s practice.  Find someone near you to have a conversation. For now, limit your conversation to these six areas and practice asking a question in each area.  Let the other person respond, and we’ll ask you to keep your responses brief.  Just move through the areas – help each other remember them.  I’ll give a signal and then you’ll switch roles and have a second conversation.   (After 2 minutes, invite everyone to switch)

We suggest these areas and practice the skill to bring it to a conscious level and to gain more confidence in engaging others.  We want to demonstrate God’s love and acceptance to others, and we want to show hospitality as Jesus did.  So we each recognize that all are responsible for deepening our relationships with each other and connecting with our guests.

This week, find people here at church or elsewhere and engage them in conversation by asking questions.  Next week, we’ll add more skills for putting hospitality into action.

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