“For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” – John 13:15
How far are you willing to let God go?
Is there a line in behavior, a place of secrets, a shelter of practices that you expect God not to breach?
It seems that Jesus crossed that line in the story of the Last Supper.
Peter drew the line when Jesus gets too close to his (presumably filthy) feet. The work of a servant was too much for his Lord.
Jesus knew that they would never expect their Teacher to cross a major class divide. But he pushed. “You should also do as I have done to you,” he said.
Some people’s feet are unsafe to touch. We do not need to force people into situations of intimacy that will harm them. The literal interpretation can be convenient when it emphasizes a sense of physical submission. Far too often, submission is asked of the marginalized who are asked to kneel before the powerful.
Jesus’ example inverts the power structure. The Power of the Most High knelt at the feet of his friends.
If your traditional place is to kneel at the seat of power, hiding your face, keeping quiet, holding back, never upsetting the people who hold the reins to your ability to thrive, then truly following Jesus means a subversion all of this. If you were born into a position that allows you to tower over everyone else, then following Jesus will mean getting down on your knees. If your place in life includes expectations of servitude, then following Jesus might just mean standing up.
Taking seriously the practice of giving alms, one of the traditional Lenten disciplines, means setting the conditions so that this is possible for everyone. What might that take in your life? What line is God challenging in your life?
God, if you would wash my feet, help me to wash away the injustice that expects this of some and not of others. May we all stand proud in the love of God. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City./div>