It’s Holy Week. It’s Tuesday. I have given myself forty-five minutes to write this post. So the words and the thoughts are not going to be all buttoned up and tidy with this time restriction. As if life is tidy. Certainly our world as we awoke this morning to reports of the Brussels bombing shows that the world is far from neat and tidy. I meet the news of the suicide bombings and the high casualties with anger and with sadness.
In my work as minister I am a travel guide helping those who choose to follow Jesus to walk the palm strewn streets as well as through the lonesome valleys, shadows of death and Golgotha en route to Easter morning where we re-affirm that the Kingdom of God has come in the resurrection of Jesus. The Kingdom of God has come! And yet it is not fully here yet. Cells mutate and cancer forms. People act out with vengeance, seeking domination formed in fear. Life is beautiful. Life can be hard and the news that greets us can be mean and untidy. But we walk on with our homely feet: “We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight” as the wonderful hymn goes:
“Help then, O Lord, our unbelief; and may our faith abound to call on you when you are near and seek where you are found.”
So prayer is so important. I have started using this Centering Prayer app. It guides you to “choose a sacred word” as a symbol to focus upon during a guided meditation. I settled on the sacred symbol of…the foot. Yep, not the word grace nor forgiveness, but the rather homely foot. Feet are on my mind this week. Thursday is Maundy Thursday where Jesus will celebrate the last supper with his disciples and then center stage is the dramatic moment where Jesus strips off his normal clothing and puts a towel around his waist, pours water in the basin and stoops as a servant would and washes the dust from the disciples’ feet, one by one. When he finishes Jesus explains he has set an example of humble service not domination –as was thought to be the focus in the Greek notion of the master/ servant relationship. Jesus tells the disciples that he needs them to imitate his example. Later after the meal he will expand “serve one another” to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Jesus tells the disciples that he needs them to imitate his example. That doesn’t mean we set up foot washing stands here or on the streets. But today I hope you will thank God for your homely and worn feet, attend to your own foot care with prayer as you travel towards Easter, and be mindful of Jesus’ words to his disciples to “serve one another.”
Here are two scripture passages for your contemplation:
Psalm 116: “I love the Lord, who listened to my voice in supplication, who turned an ear to me on the day I called…Return, my soul, to your rest, the Lord has been very good to you. For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.” (from the Centering Prayer app)
From Romans 12:9-21(from Eugene Peterson’s The Message):
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.