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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

...even this little piggy.... Holy Thursday


Oh, THOSE things one might say. The nails grow brittle or yellow or thick with age. The toes, heck, the whole darn foot swells by afternoon if you haven't put your feet up.

Oh, and there are those toes Some long and skinny, some peanut looking, some cashew looking, some brazil looking, some acorn looking. Oh, those nutty looking toes. In our youth, we women squashed our toes into pointy shoes that (with metal detailing) could be deadly weapons.

But at middle age, OH, look at them NOW. They may not grow longer but they nearly always grow wider. There are calouses and buyons and corns and ingrown toenails that defy the simple nail cutter you once used adeptly (when you could either bend over or could bend them closer up to you). Just one look at a Bulgarian contortionist in the Cirque de Soleil and I know they don't have a problem with a self pedicure.

But let's face it, the vast majority of us would not consider our feet our most alluring body part.

If you've every had the guilty pleasure of watching Family Feud in any one of its many reincarnations on TV, you know that.... when polled as the entire audience that rolled into the recording studio one day and asked what their most attractive body part was, you can lay money that the jovial host, when revealing the top percentile answer did not cheerily warble: "....and the survey says...........MY FEET!"

Unless you have had - in your arms - a newborn or an infant of your own (or on loan) and you gently peel back the blankey to reveal those perhaps puffy, perhaps wrinkly, teeny tiny miniscule extremely small, delicate, beautifully formed miracles with even teenier tinier five curved under little nubbettes at the end of your own beautiful childs' precious body, feet are not something to "oooo" and "aaaaaaaaaahhh" at.

That all being put out there as pedestrian (pardon the pun) fact, let's time travel back to the time of Jesus. You will not see Air Jordans, or Manolo Blahnik Patent leather pumps.

Think more along the lines of bare feet, a leather flip-flop or an upscale simple slipper style. No socks....
and the transportation by in large? By foot. Gives 'being on your feet all day' a more true ring.

After a long day in the carpenter's shop or the fields or the marketplace or the temple you came home, and washed your feet...... that is, if you had no money. If you were flush, your slave or servant - but the lowest, least important one as given the task of washing off your nasty feet for you.... and do a good job of it, too.

Now let's flip forward to the seder we are focused on during Holy Week. The group rented a room - so they had someone wash their feet already. And the feet at that table..... more than half of them belonged to men who - for the majority of their lives had been fishermen. Fishermen. Face it folks, to this day if you bake or fry fresh fish in your house to this modern day - no matter how wonderful your exhaust system or the amount of "OUST" you can pump into the air at 3 minute intervals..... our house reeks of fish for a week and a half.

Peter's feet must have been a sight - a rather ugly sight - bruises, rope burns from the fishing nets, cuts and puncture wounds from knives, cracked- black and blue nails, callouses.... and the cellular residue of fish up 3 inches past the ankle for hours at a time for years, like his father before him. Multiply that by 6 people (12 feet)

During the supper when he instituted the Eucharist a heated discussion broke out (if you read all the Gospels, this was quite a competitive, ego-centric group) amount the disciples on who was the greatest. A hush fell on the crowd when Jesus said (translated to today's vernacular) "Do you want to see what greatness looks like? Do you want to be the greatest among your peers? Do this." He got up, pulled off his tunic, tucked a towel into his waistband, got a pitcher and bowl and came to Peter to wash his feet.

Peter protested - you are the greatest, get up, stop joking with us - I'm not going to let you wash my feet! He finally caved in - in his typical all or nothing manner. Jesus got down on both knees, got his face close enough to see what he was doing (and have a good whiff), took Peter's foot, poured water over it, massaged all the aches, bumps, lumps and injuries then tenderly dried it just as you would a baby's tiny foot, drying each toe, even the spaces in between and repeated the act of love on the other foot.

Jesus did this for each at the table.... washed his hands, put his clothes back on, sat down and said "You've called me Rabbi, Teacher and I have done this to you. If I - whom you have called the greatest - have done this, then you have learned another lesson in love. The greatest one who loves truly among you will be the servant of all".

It's now time for you to show your unconditional love by washing someone else's feet - and show your loving vulnerability by revealing something usually hidden to someone else. Follow the Master's lead - wash and be washed. If you had been at that single table at that seder meal so long ago, he would have washed your feet.... after all, he made each of your toes, regardless of their mileage or shape..... each little piggy on your foot.


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