It’s a funny thing about feet in our culture. They are fully useful appendages, worth more than their weight in our well-being and mobility. But they embarrass us. Perhaps it’s their lowliness. Or perhaps the way they form over time says something about the load we carry. And how we carry it.
Jesus knew this too. But he also knew that if leadership were only making decisions in the biblical boardroom and teaching a continually dumbfounded population, the disciples included, being the leader would be as glamorous as being emperor. Glorious, even vainglorious.
Serving God is humble work, says Father Sandy, “We can never lose sight of that.”
Maundy Thursday, with its re-enactment for us of the Last Supper, puts us at the center of the devotion Jesus had for his disciples. But if we stop there, we miss the vulnerability Jesus also requires of his servants.
As part of Maundy Thursday, come emotionally prepared to have your feet washed by our clergy in the Nave. The stations are at the front of the church with places for taking your shoes off and others for putting them back on. As you stand humbly aware of your feet and waiting your turn, Sandy asks you to think of the places where you may intentionally be keeping a barrier between you and God.
“Of course, we have to plan for the future, but relying on ourselves rather than God keeps a barrier between us,” he said. “That means we don’t fully experience God’s love.”
In this congregation, the convention has been that women could wear nylon hosiery or that people could present only one foot, the other presumably tucked safely away in a shoe.
Sandy asks us to shuck the timidity and come forward boldly with our feet in plain view, perhaps using the experience as a tutorial for eliminating other barriers in your life and relationships.
“My experience is you can’t hold back in any relationship, including your relationship with God. If you do, you don’t experience the full joy of what it means to walk with God,” he said.
For Sandy, washing his congregant’s feet is a poignant reminder of how much of a priest’s life is servitude and walking humbly with people as they encounter the best and hardest times in life, including the dark valleys we are all asked to walk in faith.
“You really can’t love people from a distance,” he said. “You have to love them where they are, as they are.”
The service begins at 6:30 p.m.