"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

“Of Water, Born” – Maundy Thursday, April 1, 2021

St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional 

How beautiful upon the mountains

are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7

There are people, men and women, who are employed as foot models.  Their feet are their livelihood and are, generally speaking, beautiful; well-proportioned with straight, even toes, smooth, blemish-free skin, perfect nails.  It probably takes a great deal of effort to keep them that way. Not everyone’s feet will win beauty pageants and the amount of pain feet cause for so many is (excuse the pun) staggering.  Isaiah is not speaking so much of the appearance of the feet of the messenger, as the action of running to proclaim good news!  

On that night, the one we recall as Maundy Thursday, Jesus knelt before his disciples and washed their feet. (John 13:1-15)   These were not models’ feet.  They would have the bunions, blisters, corns, scars and simply dirt of feet accustomed to walking barefoot and probably not being given much attention, on a day-to-day basis.  And Jesus “got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet.” (verses 4-5).  This act was not simply to make his friends feel more comfortable or refreshed.  He said “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”(verses 13-15)   Jesus’ point wasn’t that they were to engage in some kind of regular foot-washing ritual but rather, that they would take care of each other.  It’s the sermon illustration for the mandatum of the evening, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. …By this everyone will know that you are my disciples…”(verses 34-35)  

They would learn. When they understood more fully about the depth of God’s love.  They would learn to share it, and not just with their own little church group.  But as witnesses, “to the ends of the earth.”