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Dirty, but Not Defined by Dirt
April 14, 2022, 9:00 AM

April 14, 2022 - Maundy Thursday

When Jesus approaches Peter to wash his feet, Peter’s reply is, “You will never wash my feet.” Many will feel the same tonight. We struggle to confess that we have dirty feet, that we live in dusty homes and have messy lives. We would like people to see us with our shoes and socks on, neatly wrapped and presented to the world. In private though, we are painfully aware of our shortcomings. We can feel like miserable failures, hopeless cases, lost causes. We are none of the above. We are creatures of earth, living in earthy bodies and inspired with the breath of God. We are dirt, but we are not our dirtiness.

When Jesus knelt at Peter’s feet to wash them, it was Peter who was affronted by the seeming impropriety of the situation. But to Jesus, who sees with God’s eyes, it was a chance to wash the feet of a loved one—not unlike the feeling you might get touching the feet of an infant. We are children of God and, like any loving parent, God simply wants to give us a bath. Through the eyes of love God looks at us the way we might choose to look at our church, at our lives, at our feet—as things redeemable.

Our feet—stinky with decay, wrinkled with age, ugly from infection, bruised by labor, signs of our march toward death—our feet are not scary to the one who has bound us up into a new body, a body of life, a body we entered into through baptismal waters. God, who is not afraid to draw close to the decaying portions of our world, sees our feet and loves them, and we are given the new commandment to love one another as we are loved.