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How to wash the feet of your neighbor

It's that time of the Lenten season when many Christians start the process of honoring the days leading up to Jesus' passion and death on the cross. One significant day to meditate on this Holy Week is Holy Thursday. One of the main components of the Thursday celebration is the washing of the feet, in which a church leader will wash the feet of church attendees just like Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. The depth and meaning of Jesus doing such an act have such beautiful significance for both the Church and its people. As we navigate this example of humility, we can make the most of its application in our lives by seeking out those who need us most.


Who in your life needs uplifting?

Research says that 30%-80% of individuals with chronic pain or disabilities are depressed. Caregivers of those with disabilities are also likely to be twice as depressed as the general public. Although some may assume that people with chronic illness or disabilities and their caregivers don't want to be bothered, it is actually quite the opposite. More often, caregivers and those being cared for don't have access to as many people in their day to day. Connection is one of the most impactful ways to lift someone out of a mental health crisis.



Washing feet in the modern world

Jesus washing the feet of His disciples is such a beautiful example for us. In this simple act, Jesus shows us His willingness to connect in a vulnerable way. We can do the same by taking the time to listen, find common ground with the neighbor we haven't seen in a while, and having the courage to seek out the person in our church community that may have difficulty getting to church during this busy time.


If someone has a physical disability, we can literally bend down and be present on their level. Pull up a chair and sit for a moment to catch up. Ask someone how they might be pushing through the tough stuff they may be going through. A connection like the kind Jesus offers takes presence and persistence. Those who were considering suicide are said to have changed their minds against it after being asked more than once if they were hurting and considering self-harm.



Finding hope for the hopeless

When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He was giving them a glimpse into the depth of love He would later offer. Even though these next few days are focused on sorrow and loss and stretching, it is all the silence and ache of this time that makes the hope of the resurrection that much more beautiful. As you take the time to connect with a neighbor or friend or family member that might be hurting, don't be afraid to talk about the hope. Authentically ask about what they might be feeling and thinking. Discuss concrete ways to support them in moving toward hope. It isn't too late to make the most of this Lenten season and go deeper into the heart of Jesus.

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maundy_Thursday


https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Chronic-Pain-and-Depression


https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9288-chronic-illness-and-depression


https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-depression-silent-health-crisis


https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org


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