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  • Writer's pictureMarissa Galvan

Towel Collectors

My mother loves to collect towels. She loves going to Bed Bath and Beyond and to other stores to look at them. When she has a little money, she buys some for her and some for me. This includes all kinds of towels: beach towels, hand towels, and bath towels. She enjoys hanging them in the bathroom and not using them at all. When I have asked her why she buys towels to then hang them without using them, she says that she likes to make her bathroom a beautiful place. She says towels are beautiful. In her meditation for today, called “Towels Around Our Waists”, Jill Duffield speaks about seeing a housekeeper’s cart in the hall of a hotel. She sees all the usual things, but the thing that catches her attention is the combination of towels and Bibles. She arrives at the conclusion that this is a perfect combination: after all, if we are in the mindset of Jesus… towels and Bibles ought to be side by side. In this passage, we see this very clearly. Jesus, during his last meal, takes a towel and starts washing his disciples’ feet. He doesn’t care about their doubts. He doesn’t care about their lack of commitment and understanding. He doesn’t care that one on them is going to betray him. He doesn’t care that he is their Teacher. He just takes a towel, gets on his knees and becomes the lowliest of servants for them. Because of this, Jill Duffield states that "Maundy Thursday means that followers of Jesus serve". We are disciples of the One who becomes a servant, a slave out of love for us. We are disciples of the one that becomes a trash collector that risks working in an environment where there is a deadly disease on the loose. We are disciples of the one that becomes someone that works in health services, risking their lives so that others can get well. We are disciples of the one that works in a supermarket, making sure that we can find or get the things that we need to eat. We are disciples of the one that becomes Rhonda, the housekeeper that Duffield mentions, that makes sure that her hotel room is clean. We are disciples of the one that does essential work… even knowing that he will lose his life to save us. This story reminds us that discipleship is indeed a good combination of Bible and towel, of words and acts, of teaching and serving. As followers of Jesus, we do a disservice to our calling when we fail to follow the example of the one that sacrificed everything for us. And now that I think of it…maybe that is why mom likes towels so much. She has certainly been a beautiful example for me of teaching and serving… and I know who she learned it from. So, in the words of Duffield… “On this Maundy Thursday, pick up a towel—you can find it right alongside the Word of our Lord—and get moving.”

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