The maundy in Maundy Thursday means foot washing. Our choir works on anthems that speak of Jesus’ death. It is a somber service. The attendance is low. I think many are uncomfortable with the idea of baring your feet for the priest to wash. Many are uncomfortable with the thought of death, death by torture. I am uncomfortable.
My daughter had a pedicure this week in preparation for a wedding she will be in this weekend. The small Asian woman gently removed embedded nails, shaved off calloused skin, and massaged her legs and feet. The woman was low. We were sitting high. She was performing a service. She looked up again and again checking Maggie’s pain level and asking with her eyes for reassurance that she was doing the right thing, offering peace and comfort through her service. I imagined the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. Humbled and low, looking up to Jesus for approval.
I understand the theory behind foot washing as a way to humble ourselves by washing each other’s feet. Years ago when I was teaching in an Episcopal school, my headmaster asked me to do the foot washing. I thought he meant that I would be the example, the one having my feet washed. But no, I was doing the washing. Students lined up with their feet bared. As I washed child by child, I began to feel an extreme weariness. Afterward, I was physically exhausted. I cried. The experience was profound.
For Digital Poetry, I offer a video from a recent walk in the park. A small poem accompanies the video. The only sound is the running of water.