Tuesday, March 27, 2018--John 13:1-5b, 14-15
"Now before the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet."
Conflate all of the Gospels, and this is one of the busiest meals in the history of hosting religious dinners. (On Friday, March 30 when we share in the Passover Seder, it will not be as intense, so you should come--7:10 PM on Friday evening.)
Jesus knows so much in John's Gospel. He knows he has no time, or that the time for him to die has come, or that the end of the way things were is rushing up to meet them.
Jesus knows about Judas. Oh, that Judas...poster boy for broken trust. In John's gospel, Jesus sees right into Judas' heart, and knows what he is not only capable of, but what he will in fact do. Something corrupts Judas, and we might say, "old news just repeats itself;" we seem to live in corruptible times.
what's for dinner,
who he's from,
that he's got a lot on his shoulders for the next couple days,
where he's going,
and that there's something they could be doing.
It is a strange thing to break into the dinner and break out the wash bin, though I too have noticed dirty hands and dirty faces when my crew finally sits down to the dinner table and had that urge. Jesus sets up a foot washing station. He, their leader, had a lesson to teach about serving.
I love feet.
My sister has "Flintstone" feet, about as wide as they are long. She always went barefoot as a child, often stubbing those stubby toes on the gravel between our house and our grandmother's, up the road, or our aunt's, down the road. Hers are the first feet I remember.
I taped ankles as a trainer for my high school football team. I was good, too. Less than a minute from start to finish. Slender feet, high arches, thick feet, boney feet...bunions...painted toenails, bruises, freckles, hairy toes, ugly feet, pretty feet, smelly feet, calluses, tough feet, blue veins. Pink sink, Brown, Olive, Yellow, Cream, Black. Diversity of feet.
Hiking with friends in Virginia, I learned what ill-fitting boots can do to feet. Who needs those toenails, anyway; there are 8 others! "They'll grow back," we promised.
With other faith-filled friends, we laid hands on and prayed over the blistered foot of a vivacious little lady whose pain from radiation caused her great suffering. Her feet couldn't do the things she used to do or walk the land she had known for decades.
Feet walk us into places we've never been. Feet lead us over mountains to bring good news. Feet kick up dust in retreat. Uncovering someone's feet in the old testament--well, look it up. Feet remain hidden when we are at table together. Feet keep us standing when we want to fall.
Feet gross many people out. That's why it was not only a lowly job that Jesus was suggesting at the dinner, it was one of the lowliest. And he sat there ready for Judas to dip those feet into that clean water so that Judas would have clean feet to betray him. And Paul would have clean feet to stand outside and deny he knew Jesus three times before he could stand himself no longer. And those others would have clean feet, ready to retreat or follow along the Via Dolorosa or tremble at the foot of the cross where they could examine Jesus' pierced feet raised up before them.
Jesus tells those clean-footed disciples (vs.14-15), "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."
Where will your feet take you today? Would you wash the feet of others?
From Teresa of Avila:
"Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion is to look out to the world; yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours are the hands with which God is to bless people now."
First United Church of Christ
34 West Main Street
Milford, CT 06460
All are welcome at First Church! As an inclusive community of God's children, we affirm the radical welcome and hospitality of the United Church of Christ; No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!
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