How Foot Washing Changed My Family's Easter

Written by Shawn Plummer

At Easter, I look forward to special services, worship music, and a refocus on Christ’s death and resurrection. As a dad, however, there's one hitch.

Convincing our 11 year old twin boys to go to church can be like pulling teeth! It’s been like that for the last few years, at least.

Once Friday rolls around and we lay out the family plans for the weekend, my wife Lindsay and I hear the same thing from our boys almost every week.

I don’t want to go,” “a waste of time,” “soooo boring,” and “what’s the point?” are the most common defenses for opting out of church.

I get it. They’re young guys with too much energy, they love sports, and there’s a trampoline begging to be jumped on. Sitting through a service or being asked to contemplate their relationship with God does not make the weekend fun list.

But miracles do happen—at least in our little world!

A few Sundays ago, we went to church as a family. That morning had been met with an outpouring of protests from the boys, but we held our ground and we all went. After arriving, we sent the kids off to Sunday school. I’ll be honest—I was relieved to be free of their bad attitudes and slouched posture.

This particular Sunday, to our amazement, our sons came roaring up to us after the service animatedly detailing out their Sunday school experience. The car ride home included an energetic play-by-play description of how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and how he’d called humanity to act with the same humility and servant’s heart.

And then this interpretation turned quite literal. We couldn’t believe what we’d heard in the car, but when we got home the boys immediately filled basins with warm water. They insisted they wash Lindsay’s and my feet using the scented foot scrub they had made in Sunday school! They had practiced on friends at church and were on a roll. They even washed their sister’s feet and made plans to wash their grandparents’ feet on Easter weekend. 

I said to my wife, “I can’t believe this is happening! These kids don’t even like each other!”

My son washes my wife's feet, complete with warm water, towel, homemade foot scrub, and an enthusiastic smile.

I was amazed at how this gifted teacher had captured the attention and interest of 11 year old boys and how this act of humility had encouraged them to wash their friends' feet without thinking this was “weird.” Not only that, she was able to weave the importance of Jesus’ message into a memorable and practical application.

Jesus’ message was this: "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." (John 13:34).

He raised the definition of love to a higher standard. His example of self-sacrifice shows him meeting people’s deepest and lowest needs. As we follow his example of love by washing one another’s feet—in literal and figurative ways—we honour his ultimate act of love in dying for our sins.

Having my feet washed by my boys was a very real and raw experience for me. While my boys scrubbed and rinsed, I realized I see this posture of servitude happening across the entire FH family.

I see it in our staff who serve in our communities across the world. I see it in donors and partners who give above and beyond what is expected or asked for. I see it in our sponsors who are cheerleaders in the lives of our sponsor children. I was even fortunate enough to see it in my own family when least expected. These small gestures of love in the name of Jesus have a lasting and powerful impact. (If you want to see what I mean, check out these stories.)

What a beautiful picture of Christ’s sacrifice! Indeed, what a miracle. 

This Easter, I hope you find a way to act out sacrificial love for another person. Maybe it’s something as simple as spending the day with someone who needs you. Or maybe it’s something as symbolic as getting the family together to wash each other’s feet. Thanks to my two sons, we’ve got no choice but to wash each other’s feet this weekend!

May you have a blessed Easter full of joy, hope, and gratitude.

Photo courtesy of: Reinhardhauke



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Food for the Hungry: How Foot Washing Changed My Family's Easter
How Foot Washing Changed My Family's Easter
Food for the Hungry
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