Thursday, April 5, 2012

Washing Feet

Feet are sacred. They carry us from one moment to the next, from one day to the next. They're not so pretty sometimes but they are the the parts that get us out of bed, over to kiss our children, to walk under blooming crab apple trees.....even if our legs don't work, we usually still have our feet. Our feet can remind us of the "ground of being" (Paul Tillich) - of God, of living and being in the face of nonbeing. I think the Friar is right about making foot washing a sacrament - Holy time to care for one another, to grab the things that sweat, have odors and soars but we can still love them and wash them tenderly despite their appearance, their defects. Maybe then we can remember that our feet are gifts and that we can humbly be gifts to one another. 

From Friar Richard Rohr:
There's no real story of the Last Supper in the Gospel of John as we find it in the other Gospels. There is no passing of the bread or passing of the cup. Instead we come upon the story of Jesus on his knees washing the Apostles' feet. Really quite amazing, and even more amazing that we never made the foot washing into a Sacrament! It is much more explicit in the Scriptures than many other actions we made into sacraments.
Perhaps John realized that after seventy years the other Gospels had been read. He wanted to give a theology of the Eucharist that revealed the meaning behind the breaking of the bread. He made it into an active ritual of servanthood and solidarity, instead of the priestly cult that it has largely become.
Peter symbolizes all of us as he protests, "You will never wash my feet!" (John 13:8). But Jesus answers, "If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me." That is strong! We all find it hard to receive undeserved love from another. For some reason it is very humiliating to the ego. We all want to think we have earned any love that we get by our worthiness or attractiveness. So Jesus has to insist on being the servant lover. Thank God, Peter surrenders, but it probably takes him the rest of his life to understand.

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