Today is Maundy Thursday, and traditionally it celebrates Jesus’s last supper with his disciples, which includes the well-known foot-washing “scene” where Jesus, the teacher, the leader, put himself in a servant position and washed his disciples’s feet. Many churches today celebrate Maundy Thursday with an actual foot-washing ceremony. So did the church I go to here in Geneva, the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The way it is done is that people can choose to come forward to the chairs provided and take turns washing each others feet.
I hesitated about coming forward for a long time. Slipped my shoes on and off a couple of time. Waited, waited, and in the end I never went.
My reason? I was ashamed. My feet are in an ugly sort of state. Dry heels, unkempt toenails… I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone in the congregation washing my feet — positive that they will have negative thoughts about my feet.
Then, the strangest thing happened. As the congregation cleared up the sanctuary, I helped someone carry away the bowl of water that had been used for the foot-washing ceremony. The bowl was heavy and even with the two of us carrying, it was still hard to maneuver. The aim was to get to the trees so the water in the bowl could be poured to the trees. Somehow we made it. And then as we poured, I realized the water splashed right on to my left foot.
It was as if God was telling me that he wants me to get my feet washed ANYWAY.
Because no matter how ashamed we are of our state of being, physically, socially, psychologically. No matter what we did or what we have been doing, God has chosen us, and he washes more than just our feet. He washes our heart. And after that, we become his servants, serving others in the world.
I have taken you from the ends of the earth and called you from its most distant places. I said to you, ‘You are my servant. I’ve chosen you; I haven’t rejected you.’
— Isaiah 41:9, GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)