Good morning all! Just a few days until Easter….
Today’s scripture: John 13:5-17 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
On Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday (Maundy meaning a new mandate) we focus on a couple of different things. This is the night that we remember Jesus’ last meal and also the night we remember when Jesus washed the disciples feet. I have to confess to you right now that I am cool with the meal and the washing of feet not so much.
In fact when Sandi (our Roman Catholic woman priest), Mark and I were planning out each day of Holy week and we got to tonight, I drew the line at washing of feet. I told them that I would suck it up if I needed to but I just don’t get all excited about washing of feet. I get the symbolism and I have been a part of foot washing a few times but if it came to a choice, it wouldn’t be me in either seat. They chuckled at me and decided that I would read scripture while they washed each other’s feet and then will offer it up to volunteers.
This got me to thinking…why do I have such a reaction?
Washing of feet is a powerful thing! I was just reading that the Pope Francis will be washing feet of youth in a detention center near Rome today and that blows me away. He has decided that it is not just symbolic, it needs to happen to youth on the outside of the margins. The gesture is one of humility and service. In fact, when Jesus does it, it is shocking! Their feet were dirty and ragged and washing feet was a lowly servants job. It reminds us of when Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with her hair. To wash feet is an intimate act. There is something so vulnerable about washing feet. Just talking about it makes me inspect my own feet.
And the reality is that it is not the same action for us, or is it? Part of me realizes that we are on our feet and because of the vulnerability it is close to the same act. Part of me realizes that our feet rarely get dirty too in our shoes in socks during this time of year. Maybe we should wash each others hands? or faces? or…?
The fact of the matter is that this act that happens shifts how the disciples react, how Jesus moves forward, and how we might react tonight. As we know that the story continues and just before death, can we allow ourselves to be part of that intimate moment? Can we washed and can we wash? Maybe it is about opening ourselves up today to be in those positions. Certainly if the new Pope can reach out to the marginalized today, we can call ourselves out there too.
Where will you wash feet today?