The point in the evening when all the awkward
greetings are over and the small talk has gotten
past the weather, the Cubs, and how the kids are
The point in the evening where you and your spouse
forget about the argument you had over the bottle of
Pepsi you brought instead of the wine as you walked
up the sidewalk.
The point in the evening where you stop worrying if
so-and-so will be there because, well, she tells the
same stories over and over and if you have to listen
to Mr. Know It All’s take on the candidate you’re
most annoyed with that you might just rip his toupee
off and tell him to shut it.
The point in the evening when you’re more than half
way through the night and you are just 45 minute
away from taking off this tie or those heels, and
you can slip back into those tired sweatpants, let
your hair down, and watch reruns of your favorite TV
We want to get to the main event, don’t we?
Some of us are perfectly fine with the small talk
and rarely argue with the significant other, don’t
worry at all about who will be there, and find a
night in watching Netflix a bit too boring.
Some of us see the whole night as the main event and
are saddened when even the trivial celebration comes
to an end.
If you’re thinking I am being a bit trite in my
generalizations, you are absolutely right.
Something needed to set us up about our foot washing
Like going to parties or events, some of us could
care less about what our feet look and smell like.
While there are some of us who washed our feet three
times before we came and powered them with some of
whatever Mary used on Jesus when she anointed his
And, there are those of us who absolutely will not
let you or anyone, for that matter, near our feet.
What an extreme generalization bout foot washing,
In the story of Jesus washing the feet of the
disciples, an event that happened before the last
supper, there are extremes in what takes place as
well. Imagine this:
Jesus is at the table with his disciples, all of
them reclining, propped up on their elbows, dipping
pita bread into bowls of savory hummus and smacking
their lips; licking their fingers. The sounds of
conversation fill the room, punctuated from time to
time by loud laughter or the clink of one clay cup
against the other. Oil lamps flicker, their light
reflected in the shining eyes of the disciples, and
while all of this is going on…
Jesus gets up from the table…
Strips off his outer robe… Wraps a towel around his
Pours water into a basin…
And begin to wash the disciples’ feet.
An extreme, unexpected action that causes a bit of a
ruckus amongst the disciples. As we all know, it was
the role of the house servant, not a person such as
Jesus, to wash the feet of the disciples. In fact,
the disciples had probably had their feet washed
before. However this is different. This isn’t some
servant or even one of their peers but instead this
is Jesus. Their teacher. Their Lord.
As he makes his way around the room, the disciples
fall silent, until all you can hear is the splash of
water being poured into the basin over dusty,
This is when another extreme takes place in the
story. While foot washing was normal, it was
expected, what Peter does was a bit over the top.
Peter objects, saying “You will never wash my feet!
But if you insist, wash not only my feet but also my
hands and my head.”
Jesus persists in washing only the feet and asks,
“Do you know what I have done to you?”
There is but silence.
Jesus speaks again, “I have set you an example. If
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you
also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Despite
Peter’s best attempt to be holier-than-thou or
attempt to wiggle out of Christ’s intimate act of
service, Jesus washes his feet.
What do we do with this story?
Some of us hear this story and think, “This is a
story about social justice and action, putting feet
to our theology.” We want to ask questions such as:
“Where is it that people are broken and bruised from
war, poverty, drugs, abuse, and discrimination and
are in need of a healing bath?”