Today's Lectionary Text
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”
When I visit nursing homes, I am struck by the modesty the residents have about their feet.
Many seem unbothered by the fact that they are sitting in a commons area in a hospital gown with just a blanket over their laps. If their clothing gaps or rides up, they don’t seem to notice.
But if they don’t have on at least socks or slippers, they will apologize for their ugly toes.
Certainly, as we age our toenails thicken and yellow. Callouses, bunions and corns adorn gnarled, arthritic toes. The smell isn’t always pleasant either. People tend to want to hide their imperfect feet.
In John 13:1-17 we read the familiar story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet at the last supper. We know that Jesus was modeling the kind of humble care for others that he wishes Christians to offer.
Beyond that, I think Jesus was sending a message that we must show complete trust. We must trust Jesus with the most embarrassing parts of ourselves. We must let Jesus so close to us that he can smell our stinky feet and touch our callouses, bunions and corns.
Jesus won’t force himself into our personal space. We must give him permission.
UMC Humboldt-Table Rock, NE
Missouri River District
Prayer for Reflection
Lord, touch the ugliest, smelliest part of my heart. Wash me clean that I might minister to others with the same unembarrassed love. Amen
This Week's Lectionary
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35
This Week's Liturgical Color