Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Washing of the Feet

It's Holy Thursday. I feel some pressure to be inspiring about the feast of the Last Supper, the connections to Passover, the importance of the Triduum.... Maybe there's inspiration and brilliance at the bottom of this coffee cup, but it's not looking good for our heroine.

What I am wondering about is the foot washing ceremony that occurs at tonight's liturgy. Typically, there is a re-enactment of the story where Jesus picks up a towel and washes the feet of his disciples. Some combination of the pastor or priest, the parish staff, parish representatives.... wash the feet of parishioners. I've been both the wash-er and the wash-ee, and I'm here to tell you, it was a lot harder for me to have my feet washed than to do the washing. I'm a mom; I can wash dirty feet all the live-long day. Having someone serve me -now that's a different thing altogether. Humbling. Instructive. Powerful.

But a few years ago, our then-new Bishop disallowed my participation in the ceremony. Not mine in particular, but all people with a chromosomal arrangement similar to mine. Only men can have their feet washed. You think I'm joking, but alas, no. Some churches have had the courage and the good sense to find obedient-but-just-barely ways of working around this peculiar rule. We have a new pastor; this is his first Easter season with us. Let's see which he values more: ministry or obedience.

I don't want to enter the triduum with an arms-akimbo, "make my day" attitude. And I'm really not. But I am going to notice.

And tonight as I keep watch and meditate in front of the blessed sacrament (from 11-midnight... WHAT was I thinking???), I'll meditate on service and humility and not being so darn angry all the time!

Happy Easter.

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