Friday, April 22, 2011

Beautiful Feet

We washed feet at Mount Vernon Place last night. Foot washing is not a practice I have been drawn to. While I love to have my own feet washed while sitting in a vibrating chair at a nail salon, I have never gotten down on my knees and washed the feet of my congregation. In an effort to establish new traditions and introduce new practices at our church, my colleague and I decided that last night's service would have two acts of response and remembering: the Eucharist and foot washing.

Instructions were given following the Great Thanksgiving. The intimate congregation was invited to come forward to the table or to the basin - it did not matter which place people arrived first. Each person was invited to come barefoot, leaving their shoes in the pew. We prepared for many people to come to the basin, unsure of exactly how many people would accept our invitation. I got down on my knees and waited for people to come. I soon discovered my eyes filling with tears as different emotions filled my heart and mind. And, I also found myself praying.

I gave thanks for feet that now live in China where they walk to schools to teach English. I gave thanks for the person these feet belong to - a beautiful individual who I wish would leave China and move back home because I miss her dearly.

I gave thanks for feet that lead our Serve ministries - feet that belong to someone who is willing to hold me accountable - feet that push us to embrace more people - feet that demonstrate foot washing to me often.

I gave thanks for feet that come to worship early to make sure the sanctuary is set up and feet that remain after to put each hymnal and songbook back in its place. These feet are servant's feet that show up often - feet that make my tired feet not so tired on a weekly basis.

I gave thanks for feet that not long ago stood in a garden with her fiance for marriage - feet that I got to journey with in pre-marital counseling and then celebrate with on the day I pronounced her married. These feet have blessed me so often as I see the love of God in the person to whom these feet belong.

I gave thanks for feet that have just started coming to church. These feet are hearing the story again after being away for a while. These feet are beautiful feet that are embracing the gift of community. They are loving feet that I get to watch interact with a transforming Gospel.

I also gave thanks for feet that belong to a father. This father's feet never miss a Sunday. I watch these feet care for his children and his wife. I see these feet becoming more involved in our community. I see feet that want to serve.

I'm still thinking about these feet this morning. These are feet filled with blessings. These are feet that have served countless people. These are feet that make more of me each week as they allow me to be a pastor and embody for me what it means to love others. Washing these feet has renewed me in a profound way.

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news."

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