Friday, April 14, 2017

A Final Act

I hate feet. 
Have I ever mentioned that here?
I have a number of idiosyncrasies but feet may top the list. 
I've never liked them. 
I had a real aversion in high school. 
Couldn't even look at them. 
I had a friend, Kerri, who had the only feet I actually thought were kinda pretty. I didn't mind when she wore sandals. Everyone else though...cover up those dogs please!

Yesterday was Holy Thursday.  I went to church last evening where we heard the Word and mourned the start of Jesus' walk to the cross. 
His betrayal.
His denial. 
His death. 

The pain of that night is unimaginable to me. 
The wait until the bells ring on Holy Saturday night, even to this day, feels interminable. 
To think that Jesus knew - the entire time He walked among us - that He would suffer this horrible fate without relief breaks my heart.  

I was considering the reality of the scenario this morning as I prepared to live my day today. And I started thinking about death as one sometimes does when considering the death of another. What would I do if I knew my death was eminent? What would I choose if I was told this was my last day on Earth?

There are a number of scenarios that I can imagine. 
Visiting a place I always wanted to see. 
Walking alongside the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico for the final time, toes relishing the sand and the surf. 
Eating my favorite meal. 
Spending time with cherished family and friends. 
Yet it seems the meal and the friends are where my similarity to Jesus end. 
And let's face it, even though bread and wine may have slaked Jesus' hunger and thirst, it's really not the same as choosing your own delicious final meal. In my case, a big bowl of pasta, garlic bread, and endless Chianti.  (Okay, maybe vodka cranberry with a twist of lime instead.) 

My point is that the single unifying detail to each of my "last wishes" is my comfort. 
My joy. 
Living those final hours in such a way that I am at the center. 

Not so for Jesus. 

I'm embarrassed to say this is the first time in my 48 years of Holy Thursdays that His actions on that monumental night have struck me in quite this way.
That His final meal was not His favorite but was the gift of his body and his blood given to His friends and family...for they may have eternal life. 
That He did not run to the corners of the earth to see sites which He would not see again until He sat at the throne at His father's right hand.
That He did not put Himself at the center except for the center of a table where they ate what would be His last supper. 

No, instead His final act was one of service.
He knelt beside each friend, posturing beneath them and bathed them.

He washed. their. feet.

And let's be real here.
Those feet were not the perfectly pedicured ones of today.
Those feet traveled miles and miles on themselves.
Those feet had to have been calloused, dirty, filthy, tough and worn.
There was no clear polish or scraped heel.
These feet were utilitarian only, not a glamorous accessory set in a peep-toe platform pump.

Yet still...

"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13:12-17 NIV)

He washed their feet.
An act of service on His final night.
An act of love and grace so great that they wrote about it.
They passed it along to us.
So we might remember that - always - no matter the circumstance...
Even that of our final breath...
That we are to emulate His example and live a life in service of one another.
And we will be blessed if we do them.

{Praying for you all as we live this Holy Week, 
reminded of the greatest sacrifice 
ever made on our behalf. 
 I pray you have a sacred one.  
A blessed one.
Thanks for reading.}


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