Last night we celebrated Thursday in Holy Week with a communion service which included an opportunity for footwashing. The Rev. Susanna Metz wrote of the significance of this in a sermon in which she said,
In one way, Jesus' disciples would have understood what Jesus was doing when he washed their feet. In the culture of that time, any good host would make sure his guests' feet were washed by a servant when they entered the house. What would have surprised the disciples is that Jesus, the host, their rabbi, was washing their feet. That was part of Peter's objection to Jesus' washing of his feet. But Jesus was showing his disciples that true hospitality goes much deeper than basic good manners. In washing even Judas' feet, Jesus was extending hospitality, his acceptance, even to the one who would betray him. Even though Jesus knew that Judas' act of betrayal would set into motion the events leading to his death, Jesus didn't push him out of the community. To the end, Jesus offered Judas a chance to change.Today we read about and pray about the cost of accepting others no matter what as on this Good Friday we encounter again the story of Jesus' crucifixion and death. We remember the cost Jesus paid for the unconditional love he had shown to outcasts and sinners, meaning the unconditional love he has for us.
Jesus told his disciples: I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Jesus says the same thing to each one of us, and if he could include Judas, shouldn't we think very seriously about those we find it all to easy to exclude?
Many feet walk into our lives and into our church every day—old feet, young feet, feet of different races, poor feet, children's feet, feet of the needy, feet of the arrogant, feet of the annoying, feet of those we love and feet of those we fear, feet of those who are like us and feet of those who aren't just like us. Whose feet would we be willing to wash? Whose feet would we rather not touch at all?
Jesus showed by his example that we really don't have a choice in the matter. If we have, through our baptism, promised to live a godly life, to live by Jesus' teachings, to respect the dignity of all God's creatures, then we must be willing, literally or figuratively, to wash everyone's feet, no matter what. We have to be willing to show that same hospitality, that same acceptance, to everyone, no matter what.
The Good Friday service will be at King of Peace at 12 noon and at Christ Episcopal Church in St. Marys at 7 p.m. We will also have Stations of the Cross at 1 p.m. at King of Peace where our labyrinth will be available for prayer from 1-3 p.m.