Footwashing Re-Imagined

Sometimes the Spirit surprises. Here is what “came to me” as I entered the story of footwashing with Mary Magdalene today:

Mary at Jesus’ Feet by Chris Cook (I also see Jesus at Mary’s feet in this image. nbl)

It was not Peter; it was me.

“Surely you are not going to wash my feet?

(Here, Yeshua? In front of these men and their jealousy? Their libido?)

“I am in you and you in me. Would you refuse this sign? This is my seal to you, even as you sealed me in tears and nard. This is my feeding, my pledge. I will serve you always, even as you have served and loved me. Then all will see how all will love — male/female, slave/free, Jew/Gentile — all will serve. All will love. All will bow down, one to the other. Especially at the feet of the least. And there I will be, as you wash and feed one another when it seems I am gone. Even as along the way the women have washed and fed this lot, Mary…”

There they are. The tears of shared gaze.

“Wash all of me, then, Rabbi.” (Did I say that aloud?)

“No… For now, hold, contain, memorize this washing. Bury it in your heart, that same healed and devoted heart that keeps your life awash, flowing with living water. Out of your belly, Out of your heart. Out of your deepest desire. Love flows. The love of service — washing any, washing me — is the love of abundance. It pours out of its own accord. Beyond what you can ask or imagine.”

“Here, my Lord. My feet. My hands. My heart.”

by Nina B Lanctot 04-01-21

2 thoughts on “Footwashing Re-Imagined

  1. I never saw before that Jesus laid aside his garments and girded himself with a towel to wash the disciples’ feet: Jesus stripped himself naked! because he took off even the towel to dry their feet with. Why expose his whole body to them? To become completely, visibly vulnerable, without protection, with nothing to hide behind, and to offer himself that completely, that nakedly, to them. To give them a preview of the coming day: this back, bent over their feet, would soon be striped with gashes, the flesh unrecognizable. These bare hands and feet, now engaged in serving them in love, would soon be pierced with blunt nails. Jesus wanted them to see him completely — “into-me-see” – intimacy – so they would know there’s nothing up his sleeve, no hidden escape hatch, he’s a man, a human, not some trick of the light. And he wanted them to see the body that would soon be spoken of in terms of bread, broken for them, poured out in love.
    Peter’s refusal or protest is so like my own, putting up my hand to say: No, this is too much, this much love isn’t safe. And Jesus says to us both, “No, it isn’t safe. It’s crazy, unbridled, naked love, and you don’t have to take it. But if you don’t, you’ll miss out on your whole life.”
    I think I read somewhere that unlike the depictions we see of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus was completely naked on the cross. It was the Romans’ way of shaming and completely dominating those they executed. But in this footwashing, Jesus is preempting the soldiers, saying, You don’t take my clothes; I lay them down. You don’t take my life; I give it to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for adding these layers. Or shall we say, Un-layers. Indeed, Jesus knew that the cross would expose his whole body in a shocking and shaming way. He says, “No, I choose to disrobe myself. I choose to serve no matter in what role or condition.” Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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