“Unless I wash you, you can’t share life with me.” John 13:8
This quote from Jesus comes when Peter initially refuses to have his feet washed by Jesus (read the whole story in John 13). Jesus says it, wrapped in the cloth of a servant, kneeling before his disciple Peter. It is said at a moment of high drama as Jesus teaches his disciples that their task is to recognise and challenge power dynamics, to serve not be served, to come to others with humility, from below, not to come from a place of exploiting our position predicated on wealth, education or access. Jesus even knelt before his betrayer, Judas and washed his feet.
Jesus then tells his disciples to imitate him: to kneel in front of others. And Jesus calls us too, to join him in this posture of submission.
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. John 13: 14-15
Today we remember a terrible nine minutes of wrong kneeling. We remember how a year ago George Floyd’s life was taken by another man kneeling on his neck. We remember how a position of power was exploited to harm someone with no power. We see how kneeling can go so terribly wrong when misused and abused. We are reminded of how evil distorts good.
We also remember today that there will be moments in our lives when we don’t want to kneel before another person. When we don’t want to humbly serve. When we don’t want to ask forgiveness. When we would so much rather exercise our power, or exploit our position. When submission is the last thing on our minds.
Jesus says we need to let him wash our feet if we are to share his life - we symbolically do this at baptism as we ask Jesus to take all our iniquities, to deal with our wrong choices, to forgive us. But what about today? Just an ordinary day. How is the whole 'kneeling before another' going for you in your daily routine? And, how are you doing in the ‘letting Jesus wash your feet’ category? Have you taken time to quietly let Jesus speak to you? Have you made a little space and calm in your life to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps you could take a minute or two now to imagine yourself kneeling before that person at home or in the office who you are finding difficult - can you ask Jesus to help you kneel before them? Once you've done it in your heart and imagination, it is so much easier to move forward with that humble posture in the next moment of encounter.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to Incarnation?
We’ve been asking over these last few weeks “What is the Holy Spirit saying to Incarnation today?”. Have you heard God's voice speaking to you? Perhaps about details in your life, or about ways you are called to serve others, or about what it means to love other people well….to kneel before them in humility. Or perhaps you have heard something for our community, for all of us to hear? Could you take a few minutes to let us know? Perhaps a quick email to Amy and myself?
We’re picking up this question about what the Holy Spirit is saying to us this coming Sunday - Trinity Sunday - as we contemplate the wonders of our Trinitarian faith - what does it mean to worship one God in three persons? Come along on Sunday to learn a little more and to worship God together! In preparation you may like to read the Athanasian creed (BCP2019, page 769) or here’s a slightly different translation.
What’s your favorite way of understanding the Trinity? Do you have a way to try and grasp the mystery of God? Take some time before Sunday to ponder the Trinity - what you do or don't understand. Where you have questions, and where this idea of God in three persons simply gives you delight!
A few pics from last Sunday which was the most glorious time of worshipping God and wearing red, and welcoming the breath of the Holy Spirit, and eating good food, and generally having such a delightful time together. SO fun.
This Sunday - as you prepare for church, consider how to come ready to hear from God, and ready to kneel before one God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Meanwhile, why not drop me a text/ email and let me know how you are doing!