I have been sitting in front of a jug overflowing with ‘water’ and reflecting on Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.
Feet that had followed him, for three years, almost to the end. Feet that would follow him, a little later, to the place where he would be arrested; and then flee. Simon Peter’s feet, that would walk into the very house where Jesus was being tried illegally; would stay as near as he was brave enough to go; and then carry him off in despair. Judas’ feet, that would soon dangle below a suicidal noose.
And Jesus’ hands, washing, and drying their feet. Hands that would soon enough be twisted by giant nails. Jesus’ feet, too.
Feet, and hands. It is a very bodily religion, Christianity. An embodied faith.
The vessel I am sitting in front of is old and tarnished and battered, just like the Church. The water, plentiful, just like the Holy Spirit. We are called to wash one another’s feet, to serve one another. The water, for dusty feet, does not run out.
Today, I have sat with a widow, and a man who lost his son forty years ago, and a man whose wife is very ill. Sat, and listened, to them talk or to the silence. Sat with them, noting their hands and feet. I have sat, praying for them, and asking for the grace to serve them as best I can, as they, indeed, serve others as best as they are able.
A very bodily faith. And one deeply concerned with memory. With memory, carried in the body—both personal and corporate, as we remember together. Our stories, woven into His story, woven into one another’s stories.
Memory and body. Aging bodies, and memory loss. Jars of water, and people willing to remember together and to embrace the indignity of serving another, or of being served by another.
It’s not a faith for those who aren’t interested in bodies or memory, those who choose to live in the moment as though they were immortal. No, being a Christian is not for everyone. But I commend it to you.
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