Next week is Holy Week. It is the week when we remember the last days of Jesus’ life. We remember the way that he gathered with his disciples and washed their feet, startling everyone because a great rabbi would never wash his disciples feet. A prominent rabbi would create dust with his energy. His disciples were so close to him that his dust would get all over them and they were humbled to be following him and happy to wash that dust off whenever they felt the need. Some disciples enjoyed the dust on their clothing because it reminded them of their mentor and master. But Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, an unheard of gesture. He humbled himself to tend to their feet, in a striking symbol of servant leadership. In some churches the ministers have instituted a service that remembers this gesture and provides people with an occasion to wash others or to have their own feet washed. It is so unnerving that some people stay home avoiding such service at all costs. But I know a friend who attended a service like this at a seminary one time and found it profoundly meaningful. At first what seemed startling or even upsetting because tender, lovely.
Now I know there is something artificial about washing people’s feet in church, and don’t worry I have no plans to start such a service. I think most of us have some hang-ups about our feet. Some folks won’t wear sandals until they have a tan, or a pedicure. Somehow, feet are private. But I continue to be drawn to the symbol of it. I continue to be impressed by the way that Jesus created community, and found people in the places where they felt most vulnerable and humbled himself to their needs. It always looks so beautiful when the Pope bends down to wash the feet of a homeless man or a prisoner, which will happen in Rome this week. Last night we went to a concert at the Brewster Ladies Library. It was a Full Moon Concert hosted and MC’d by a local folk singer, named David Roth. He is one of those singers who writes poetry and takes you to life’s learning edges with his music. If you look him up you will find some wonderful songs that touch your heart and soul. David Roth also uses his music to create community events and these Full Moon Concerts are talent shows for budding artists, singer songwriters, poets and story tellers. Last night at the open mic Roth introduced a string of aspirants. A few were true finds, the total package of voice and pitch and pawer. Others were performers who took their shaky hands to their guitars and bared their souls, people who forgot the words so invited us to sing the chorus but opened themselves to the possibility that we might wash each other’s feet, figuratively if not realistically. Whether you actually bend down and take off someone’s shoes or not, human community happens when we let our guard down, and let one another in. Every year at this time as Holy Week begins I say a little prayer that we will find something holy. Then I have to remind myself that the burden of discovering holy things does not fall on our shoulders. God has always infused the world with holiness. Often the challenge is to pause and see it. Often the challenge is to organize our lives to let the holy stuff in.
Have a good week. Many blessings, Rev. Susan