Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you? ”he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:1-15
My favorite day of Holy Week is today, Maundy Thursday. I did not always have a great appreciation for this day. A few years ago I started to attend an Episcopal Church with a dynamic outreach model. I was humbled to think there was a church with a concern for the homeless and vulnerable that I could vibe with. One Thursday I was invited to attend Maundy Thursday service. This would be the service where the congregation would take turns washing each others feet. I had heard of this practice before, but had never seen it in action. Funny how as a christian I have a belief in Jesus, or that Jesus does an act and I still don’t follow it, interesting. I went to this service and was in awe. Honestly, this service solidified me as an Episcopalian. Moreover, it was the fact that I saw not only congregants and wealthier, cleaner members of the church washing their partners or friends feet, but I saw congregants washing the feet of the homeless, the vulnerable, those that were in need of love and support, and in return those same individuals washed the feet of those of the congregation. I was humbled by this, brought to tears. I realized then in that moment that the table of Eucharist was for all, even during holy week, especially during holy week.
I close with this, this day March 24th, let’s think about the humility of Jesus, he did not ignore or shun or cast out the “other” he stood with them, and washed them and inspired them. We in this fast of #EmbodiedSolidarity have been demonstrating that not only my christian brothers and sisters feet should I wash, but my Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist and Jewish and even Atheist friends in the human community. In addition that I should offer my mind, body and soul to understanding my neighbor and their struggles. As we walk and stand for justice for the “least of these” let us remember that, we are equal and we are called to struggle, soldarity and love. To God be the glory, Amen.
Dear God of all creation we thank you for this opportunity to hold up our brothers and sisters who are in need and who are being persecuted, we stand in solidarity with their struggle and commit to washing their feet and being humble to allow them to wash ours. In this we embody solidarity, in this we see #TrueReconciliation, have interfaith collaboration and restoration. I thank you because your divine love and revolutionary grace, brings me to this and to the highways and byways. We thank you all knowing, all loving, all accepting, all believing God of creation. Amen.
Bio: I am a seminarian in New York Theological Seminary studying Liberation Theology and Queer Theology. I intern and volunteer at the Micah Institute and Ecclesia Ministries. I have been involved in homeless outreach and solidarity with the poor since 2005. After discovering the radical Jesus on the streets of NYC through a storefront church called Underground Church NYC (RIP) that reached out to the Bowery area near CBBG”s (RIP) and the parks. Being heavily inspired by the Simple Way community in North Philly (Shane Claiborne) and the writings of Tony Campolo, my best friend and I lived in intentional community with our friends on the street in an abandoned squat in Williamsburg, Bk. The house provided alternatives to the shelter system and the often overwhelmed environment of social work agencies. There was a doc about it www.ourhousethefilm.com (like $4 on Amazon Prime) all proceeds go to local initiatives to fight poverty and homelessness. I live in Asbury Park, NJ with my best friend, his partner their son.