I remember a time when my firstborn was a baby, old enough to stand up in his cot but not yet to climb out! His cot was right beside my bed, within easy reach, but I was still tired when he woke up, so I just plonked my leg on the cot bars so he’d have part of me to touch. He began examining my foot – and immediately touched a place that I disliked and considered a blemish, looking closely and feeling it carefully. I realised that, as a baby, he had no idea of it being ugly or undesirable – it was just part of me. And he loved me, completely, so he loved that too. Looking at it was just part of learning me.
A few weeks ago, we had a time of confession in which Pen invited us to consider confession not as a laundry list of wrongdoing, but just as a time of being with Jesus, and being seen and known as we are. In this supper with Jesus, we are invited again to be with him. As he washed the feet of the disciples, seeing them, knowing them, he gently and reverently anointed them with his love. Just like when the woman anointed his feet, Jesus showered the disciples in his love while there was still time for him to touch them, to be with them. And, although we can no longer touch him, we may still allow him to do the same for us
When Jesus washes us, it is not to purify us so we can be good enough for him. It’s because we were already good enough, already loved. He washes us gently, to soothe the sore places and ease away our weariness, to remove the harsh words and things of the world that have stuck their hooks into us. He shows us God’s upside down kingdom, where leadership is service, justice is jubilee and death is the doorway to life.