John 13: 14-17 (NRSVA)
14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
It is easy to think that the luck of birth or the faith we have makes us better than others. It might not be said out loud, but thoughts about others deserving their difficult life, or not being welcome as stranger or refugee, or even that if someone worked harder they’d be ok are suggesting that the thinker is somehow better.
In John, and normally encountered in Holy Week, Jesus washes the disciples feet. This is Jesus stepping into the role of the least powerful person in the room. This is a job that at the time was usually reserved for the lowest grade slave as feet would be disgusting from being in the hot and dust world, unprotected by socks and shoes.
Our life of faith might not require us to wash literal feet in any way other than symbolically but the instruction still stands. We are to step down from the fortune of birth, or any other position of power and authority, and serve people. And not just to look good, but in doing the disgusting tasks saved for the lowest paid in society.
How does that look for you? What things can you do for people that puts you in the position of servant? The true challenge of this is that it isn’t something that necessarily comes naturally but has to be a conscious effort.
As our week of feet comes to a close, we must remember that all our acts of faith, just like washing feet, have to be an intentional act that shows love.
As we wiggle our toes and feel the ground under our feet,
Ready us for a life of service,
As we pull on our socks of compassion and shoes of hope,
Ready to spread your love in the world.