Throughout the year here at our school in Daejeon, South Korea our high school student council has been involved in enacting RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) upon our student body as a means of servant leadership and to model and encourage a sense of care and community within and amongst the student body.
Some of the RAKs over the year have included things like handing out ice cream treats at lunch time, free hugs, and the offering of after school tutoring sessions. This month the student council decided that the RAK would be foot washing.
Yes, you read it correctly—foot washing.
Our high school is a Christian School however, it is important to remember that at least half of our students are not Christian believers. The student council chose foot washing as the April RAK activity.
Today was the day of the foot washing activity. During the long morning break the student council leaders set up a foot washing station in the school multi-purpose room. As I walked down the stairs and through the hallway to observe the activity I came upon student council leaders transporting basins of warm water from the restrooms to the multi-purpose room.
They were filling the basins with water to wash the feet of their peers.
As I entered the multi-purpose room the lights were off and the room was dark except for the illumined glow of candles throughout the room. By candlelight I could see students kneeling before their peers, washing their feet in basins of water. There was a quiet peacefulness in the room. Some of the students were talking softly with one another as the one washed the other’s feet and some were silent.
I was speechless.
Over the years, I have observed and taken part in many foot washing activities in worship services and at church camps, but never have I seen or experienced a foot washing like I did today. In the middle of a very normal and busy school day, our student leaders knelt and humbly washed the feet of their peers. It was beautiful.
From John 13 (NIV)
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”