Then cometh He (Jesus) to Simon Peter . . .. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.St. John 18 7-8 (portions)
Not sure I’ve ever told anyone before, but frankly, I’ve never cared too much for foot washing services in our church. (She says, shielding her head as she runs!) Do you? Or do you even have such ordinances in your church? We do in ours, as we follow the example Jesus left for us. And, of course, when the opportunity is offered I dunk my feet (that I’ve scrubbed at home to be sure they were clean–imagine that!) as do my sisters who are lined up on chairs, feet bared, with basins spread before us.
I’ve considered the matter, and have concluded an issue of pride to be involved. A kind of reverse pride than what you may be thinking, for it does not trouble me to wash the feet of the others. Rather, the edgy part is when my feet are dipped into the water, and a person is kneeling before me, and lovingly bathing my feet. Makes me uncomfortable. You see, I know myself rather well. I’m aware of my shortcomings, my sins; my far less than perfect ways. I feel unworthy, so lacking, so undeserving.
Can you imagine Peter, that roughshod, loose-mouthed fisherman as Jesus approaches from across the room and says, “Peter I want to wash your feet.”
Can you imagine it?
Jesus wanting to kneel before Peter who would in a short time say he didn’t even know Jesus. Wash his feet! Jesus kneeling at your place, saying, I want to wash your feet. “Oh, Jesus, no! You cannot wash my feet.”
So in reckoning with this issue, I’ve decided I lack in humility. People do so much for Jerry and me, and I try to be gracious and grateful and appreciative. But I see that I want to push back a bit. I’m not totally comfortable with appearing–actually being–needy. I find it challenging to be more on the receiving side of things than on the giving. I’m understanding that I prefer to feel capable and effective.
Like yesterday when Winston started barking loudly–as he is much too prone to do–and I peered out the front deck window and there was Brother Patrick Garrett going about the business of shoveling off snow and ice remnants. He had removed the covers from our two wood racks that were nearly empty of wood. “What are you doing here?”
Then at the end of the deck popped up the grinning head of Brother Andrew Chavez.
“What’s going on?” And then I saw that a pickup truck was parked at the end of the deck, and those two men, and two little Chavez boys were pitching up and stacking firewood.
Also, Andrew, my youngest son, a couple of days before had called to check on us when he learned of our furnace problem. A few weeks ago he had taken my camera that needed repairs to a shop in San Diego, and when we talked he told me it was ready to be picked up. I wanted to know the charge, and we got into a little wrangle about it, for he wanted to pay, and I didn’t want him to.
“Mom, you’re being rude.”
“Yes, you’re rude to God when someone wants to do something for you, and you resist.” I said no more.
Look at these people, these dear people. I feel hypocritical, for I know that surely I am not worthy of such sacrifice, such love.
And so I said thanks and cried and offered up. Two cups of hot chocolate. Two cups of coffee–one black, one with cream and sugar. That’s it.
My feet were washed. Lovingly. Undeserved. Unmerited. Cleansed.