We naturally resist help. Our culture has taught us to value independence. If everyone would just take care of themselves, then everyone would be alright.
So, on we march, hiding our limps and wounds, hoping no one will notice us falling behind or apart.
Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “am I the only one struggling this much?”
But the God who molded the Earth with his hands and blew life into our bodies knows better
He knows we need more than ourselves. He knows we cannot live on bread alone.
And because he loves us, he came to give us what we need.
But the people he helped first, like us, needed help understanding that they needed help.
So, on the night before he died, Jesus took Peter and said, “let me wash your feet. Put that dirty, sweaty, sandal smelly foot in my hands.”
But Peter said, “No, I don’t want you to handle the worst part of me.” Let me take care of you!”
Jesus knew that Peter’s worst part was not really his feet, it would be the next day’s denial. But tonight, Peter’s feet would do.
“Give me your feet, Peter.”
Still negotiating, Peter said, “please put my feet into context. Wash other parts of me, the better parts. While my feet maybe bad my smile and my hair really are quite nice!” “Please spend some time on the parts of me I am more comfortable with.” “Perhaps then, my feet won’t seem so bad.”
Knowing these mental gymnastics Jesus says, “No, give me your worst to love and still, I will love you.” Give me your worst, and I will still love you.
It’s hard to imagine that the one who holds all of the world would hold our feet.
The one who holds all joy, hope, and love would hold the likes of us; you and me. And not just us but the parts of us we don’t want anyone to know about, let alone touch.
The one who made the mountains and their peaks, now tenderly removes the soil from between our toes.
It pushes against all of our instincts to let Jesus into such crevasses. But tonight, we are called to be loved.
We are called to be loved not on our terms but on Jesus’ terms.
Tonight, God has sent his helping love.
This is the love we need if we are to be his people. If we are to be his body in the world.
For only in being love byJesus can we ourselves love likeJesus.
When we receive Jesus’ love without condition, then we ourselves will love unconditionally.
The more we learn to receive the love of God without argument or protest, the quicker we will be to offer that same love to others.
Tonight, we will practice on each other. I remember my first foot washing. And it hasn’t gotten any easier. At seminary I would try to finagle my place in the foot washing line so that Sara would wash my feet, lest I be exposed.
I couldn’t even bare such intimacy for one night. And yet Christ demands much more than a night of intimacy.
For you see, in exchange for our feet, Christ will give us his body.
Tonight, at the altar rail, you will have the body of Christ in your hands.
And as you take the bread and wine, Christ again will make his home in you. He will live among your worst parts. Your secret parts. The parts you may even hide from yourself.
And he will love them. He, through the spirit, will teach youhow to love them.
And when you know you are loved without condition you will be sent out to love as you are loved.
Only then will you will have what you need to love the unloveable.
But tonight, we practice. Some of us with grace and some of us still awkwardly will practice this intimate act of love.
We will again try to trust that it’s the Christ dwelling in our neighbor who will take our feet into his hands and show us how to love uncomfortably.
And by loving our feet and feeding our heart, he will take us and the whole world again into his loving hands.