28th March 2013

The Towel Round The Waist

“…so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
John 13:4  (NIV)

Some time ago as part of a degree course in public history I wrote an essay on aprons.  Women, chefs, craftsmen are all familiar with wearing aprons.  Each of these aprons declares a way of life – an activity of profession and service.  Whether it is the family laundry or a blacksmith wielding his tools to create a horseshoe, the apron denotes effort and ultimate achievement.

Someone very special to Christians donned an apron centuries ago; he humbled himself in the most profound way.  In John 13:4 we find that God incarnate put a towel round his waist and performed an act of service which, as an example to others, has never been surpassed.  Though a Middle Eastern custom, the act of washing feet was just about the lowliest deed a servant had to perform.  The spectators were embarrassed – they did not understand at that point if you read verses 6-10.

In my essay I referred to the apron as having a status and declaration all of its own.  It affirms a commitment to do the job and is an aid in achieving it.  Jesus Christ put the towel round His waist in order that Christians throughout the centuries would know what was expected of them.  Unconditional service and love to their fellow man.  Christ’s metaphorical apron took him to the cross and then out of the tomb – job done.

Let us follow suit, taking a metaphorical towel round our waist to illustrate and serve those we come into contact with – let them see their Saviour through our ‘towel round our waist.’

Jesus, help us to see and understand the needs of others, we want to express your love to a love starved world.  Help us to keep our towel round our waist, that we may always be ready to serve and to love as you did.

Study by Irene Wilson

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