Sixth Thursday/Holy Week
We had a foot washing service at our church tonight. It wasn’t a service for people with vulnerability issues. It’s funny how vulnerable we can feel in our naked feet. Not to mention our discomfort with having those unwashed feet bathed by another person. I could only watch, as I was in the choir, but I imagine it was humbling and uncomfortable to have another kneel before you and begin to wash your feet.
The word “vulnerable” means capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. It’s what happens when we let someone else see us as we really are. Bunions, callouses and all. One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, says vulnerability is necessary if we want to have real connections with others. She says our fear that we’re not worthy of connection is what keeps us from a sense of love and belonging. Why do we let fear get in the way of love? Maybe because we’re most vulnerable when we choose to love.
Jesus was willing to be vulnerable. And he showed us how to love. He loved wholeheartedly, holding nothing back.. He was authentic about who he was, rather than who people wanted him to be. He embraced vulnerability, even when it broke his heart. Even knowing it would lead to the cross.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. John 13:3-15
Today’s prayer practice: prayer of release
Read the passage above again. Jesus was being vulnerable as he served, despite Peter’s discomfort. How would you feel if Jesus had knelt to wash your feet? Do you believe you’re worthy of love and belonging? Are there ways you’d be willing to risk being vulnerable if it meant deeper connection? Where does fear get in the way for you? Ask God to help you release your fears and free you to love and be loved. Meditate on this verse from 1 John and ask what invitation he has for you in this: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18