Ever since we lead the Maundy Thursday service last week it has been on my mind. Footwashing is a ritual that I have never understood or enjoyed up until last Thursday. In all honesty, I think feet are gross, I used to have a legitimate fear of feet and could not handle being in any kind of contact with other peoples’ feet or people touching my feet. I realize this is really bizarre, but I felt very strongly about it. I have since gotten over it and while I don’t enjoy feet I can touch them and be fine. So, needless to say, foot washing services were more anxiety-causing than anything else to me.
But for some reason last week was different, I found myself very moved by the act of washing feet and allowing my own feet to be washed. It is something that you would never ask someone to do, it seems to be almost rude and disrespectful to accept a foot washing from someone. I imagine that if someone randomly offered to wash my feet my response would be “no, thank you, but I can do that, you don’t need to”. But to accept a foot washing as a sign of love and service is powerful. That was the hardest part for me, accepting it, accepting that someone was willing to bend down and wash my feet for me, to show me love in such a vulnerable way. I’ve never experienced that before, it was incredibly humbling. I felt overwhelmingly that I did not deserve this service, but I still accepted it, and this changed everything for me. This is how we should be treating everyone, this is how we should love everyone: in ways that put us in vulnerable situations, in ways that are uncomfortable, in ways that are pure service and nothing else. Not only must we give love in this way, but we must be able to accept love given to us in this way. I am still working on putting words to this experience, it is not an easy task to do, some things are just inexplicable. But the power in that service is something that I cannot easily ignore.
I came across this article last week and I hope that you will take time to read it. I don’t know much about Catholicism, but the new Pope has given me a lot of hope recently. This is a very powerful and very public act of love that I hope turns a lot of heads. “It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord.”