A letter from Kay Day in Malawi
Dear Friends and Family,
[Jesus] 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. . . . "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. John 13:4-5, 12.
This powerful part of the Holy Week experience was reenacted this week at a leadership retreat for the presbytery clerks and their deputies. The focus of the retreat was “Servant Leadership.” Thirty-six ministers listened to and discussed teachings on the topic, but it became reality when the facilitators of the retreat ended the event with a foot washing service. This was beyond the experience of most of those in attendance. They had read of Jesus’ expression of leadership and many had even preached on it, but only three in the group had ever experienced the humbling time of having a leader demonstrate Jesus’ action. What made this time more significant was who one of the facilitators was who was washing their feet—the Very Rev. Dr. Professor Silas Ncozana. He has served as General Secretary of the Synod, as an ambassador for Malawi to Germany, and as the principal of Zomba Theological College, among other things. But none of these titles or positions mean as much to him as the title of servant of Jesus Christ. He has borne that out in his actions in serving the smallest or most remote churches at every point in his ministry, and in doing whatever the Synod has asked of him, regardless of the sometimes seeming “insignificance” of the task. So it was no surprise for those who know him that he would be willing and even eager to participate in this retreat and this service in this way. That made it all the more humbling for each pastor he knelt before to wash his feet. It was a powerful reminder of what Jesus calls us to do, because Christ has done that and so much more for us. Those pastors may forget many of the words of teaching from the retreat, but they will never forget the example set for them by one of the most accomplished and respected servants among them.
That was Jesus’ very point for his disciples and for us. Please pray with me that these pastors and that all of us may experience this Holy Week in ways that will reinforce all that Christ, the suffering servant, has done for us.
Yours in Christ,
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 106