Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27
I suppose I ought to know something about this Gospel today, where Jesus teaches his apostles in the evening of his Last Supper, right after washing their feet. This last Holy Thursday my husband and I had our feet washed by the Archbishop of Omaha. While we would never have asked for this service, we had been drafted to fill the contingent of twelve parishioners, male and female, in childhood, young middle age, and -- um, let's say "older" age, to play our roles in imitation of Christ and his chosen Twelve.
We were very aware that we were continuing a ritual that was a ritual
and a teaching even the first time it was done. Jesus told his disciples
that in washing their feet, he was giving them an example to follow.
Although the disciples surely didn't get wiped with the huge cushy bath
towels supplied for us at our cathedral, and although Jesus surely wasn't
assisted at every turn by hovering priests and deacons as was Archbishop
Curtiss, we were doing our best to act the scene, to learn and to teach.
So today I pray that I may remember that Jesus has sent me the people in my life: my family, my students, faces in traffic, those who pass by. May I receive Him in receiving them. My Christian faith and His own exhortation today tells me that when I receive Him -- as in both odd moments and deep sharing, in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist -- I receive God, whom Jesus calls "the one who sent me."
This is not something I can learn or teach just through having my
feet washed, but the ritual was a reminder! With our culture's frequent
bathing and well shod feet, we don't usually need literal foot washing,
but maybe we need all the more cleansing, tending, CARING for minds and
hearts. Our mortal world cries for our service to meet the real needs
of others, both physical and otherwise, with love in imitation of the Love
who loves us.
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