Last night at church, a pair of women washed my feet. I washed a few sets of feet as well. Tittering and giggling were plentiful from the people hunkered at the basins of water. I heard multiple apologies like, “I did just take a shower before I came.” “I had a pedicure today.”–Three times I heard this comment. The feet at our footwashing last night were probably some of the cleanest and most well-heeled in the world. And yet awkwardness, even shame abounded.
Imagine what it was like for Peter to receive the ministrations of Jesus. Peter’s feet were probably some of the filthiest on the planet–fish guts and city sewage between the toes. In the embarrassing act of footwashing, Jesus taught the disciples about serving and being served, about loving and being loved. He gives them a mandate: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV)
I wonder if the footwashing was also an anointing. Jesus anointed the disciples’ feet for the sacred and dangerous journey they were about to begin—the journey to “Go and make disciples” and the journey to their deaths.
Sybil MacBeth ©2010