Today is the day that Christians celebrate the Last Supper. It also the day that many Christians will participate in a foot washing during the service.
I have to say, I was always uncomfortable with this. I don’t like feet. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I don’t like to have my feet uncovered in public. I’m not ashamed of my feet, I’m just not interested in showing them off though. I’m sure there is some deep seated reason for this – I don’t know what it is, nor do I really care to find out. It just don’t affect my day-to-day life that much to worry about. And the only time I really think about it is on Maundy Thursday or when we go to the beach.
At any rate. The washing of feet is difficult for many people. Maybe it’s because of the association of dirt with feet. We’re being asking to do something dirty – wash feet. Not only that, we’re being asked to accept the fact that Jesus – God – washed people’s feet. How crazy is that? Talk about bringing yourself low.
Yet, that’s exactly what Jesus did and calls on us to do – to bring ourselves low. To self-empty. To wash another person’s feet. And in the act of washing, to have our pride washed away. Jesus calls on us to be servants, not saviors. He’s got that role covered as we’ll hear about tomorrow.
We’d much rather participate in the supper part of the service. Who doesn’t like food anyway? Food can be dirty too, but it’s a different kind of dirty – it’s just messy. But it tastes good and is pleasing to our bodies. But touching feet? That’s a whole different story.
And yet here we are on Maundy Thursday. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet and then does dinner. I can hear all the moms out there saying – “I sure hope he washed his hands after touching their feet.”
It reminds me of another saying of Jesus. Matthew 6:21 has Jesus saying “Where your treasure is, there your heart will follow.” It means that we do the act so that our heart will follow. If we waited for ourselves to get comfortable with washing feet, then we’d never do it. We’d never be comfortable with serving others in “dirty” ways. We’d never get comfortable with praying for our enemies. We’d never get comfortable for breaking down barriers and walls with “those” people. We’d never get comfortable with eating with outcasts. Instead, the Spirit empowers us to do these things before we are comfortable doing that. God is the one who is the primary cause, the primary actor, in our lives. And we can respond – even when it is uncomfortable.
This is my lesson for Maundy Thursday. It’s why I’ll be participating in the foot washing tonight. I’m not comfortable with it. But Jesus doesn’t call us to comfort. He calls us to serve.