Full Bodied Grace

We are servants

“Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them… “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” — John 13:12, John 13:14

Jesus is about to let flesh be broken with nail, heart be broken with rejection, chains be broken with bleeding love. And in His last hours before His earthly end, He doesn’t run out to buy something or catch a flight to go see something, but He wraps a towel around His waist and kneels low to take the feet of His forsakers gently in hand and wash away the grime between their toes.

This is the full-bodied eucharisteo, the eucharisteo that touches body and soul: hands and knees and feet awash in grace.

At the last, this is what will determine a fulfilling, meaningful life — a life that, behind all the facades, every one of us longs to live: gratitude for the blessings that expresses itself by becoming the blessing.

Eucharisteo is giving thanks for grace. But in the breaking and giving of bread, in the washing of feet, Jesus makes it clear that eucharisteo is, yes, more: it is giving grace away.

Eucharisteo is the hand that opens to receive grace, then, with thanks, breaks the bread; that moves out into the larger circle of life and washes the feet of the world with that grace. Without the breaking and giving, without the washing of feet, eucharisteo isn’t complete. The Communion service is only complete in service. Communion, by necessity, always leads us into community.

Eucharisteo means “to give thanks,” and give is a verb, something that we do. God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.

I am blessed; I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift! I could be the joy! This is one of His miracles too — the taking of a life and making it a blessing.

Liturgy has its roots in the Greek word leitourgia, meaning “public work” or “public servant.” This life of washing dishes, of domestic routine, it can be something wholly different. This life of rote work, it is itself public work, a public serving — even this scrubbing of pans — and thus, if done unto God, the mundane work can become the living liturgy of the Last Supper. I could become the blessing, live the liturgy! I rinse pots and sing it softly, “This is my song of thanks to You…”

In the moment of singing that one line, dedicating the work as thanks to Him, something — the miracle — happens, and every time. When service is unto people, the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep. Because, agrees Dorothy Sayers, “whenever man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of trouble. The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have a notion that other people owe you something for your pains…. You will begin to bargain for reward, to angle for applause.”1

When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it’s true, I think I’m due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains.

Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all.

When the eyes of the heart focus on God, and the hands on always washing the feet of Jesus alone — the bones, they sing joy, and the work returns to its purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.

Father of all, make me a servant of Christ alone today, that I might be the loving servant of all, bending the knee to You to bend the knee and wash the feet of others. Today, make me know it again: eucharisteo isn’t fully in my heart until I make my life about washing feet.

  1. Dorothy Sayers, Letters to a Diminished Church (Nashville: Nelson, 2004), 143. 36. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 138.37. Will Bowen, A Complaint-Free World (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 116, 118.

Excerpted with permission from One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp, copyright Ann Morton Voskamp.

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Your Turn

We believers want to be loving servants to others, giving without expecting, without withholding. When we focus our gaze on Jesus and make every job or work a gift to Him, that’s when it happens! Come share a moment with us when you saw Jesus in the eucharisteo. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp is the wife of one fine, down-to-earth farmer; a book-reading mama to a posse of seven; and the author of the New York Times bestsellers One Thousand Gifts, which has sold more than one million copies, and The Broken Way. Named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today, Ann knows unspoken brokenness and big country skies and an intimacy with God that touches wounded places. Millions do life with her at her daily photographic online journal, one of the top 10 most widely read Christian sites: www.annvoskamp.com

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