Showing posts from March, 2015

HW Day 3: Holy Tuesday, You Shall Never Wash My Feet

A short reflection for each day of Holy Week

"You shall never wash my feet."

Jesus and his disciples walked everywhere. There was no public transit, no Uber service for weary pilgrims of the the ancient near East. Only sandals, feet and dirt roads.

So when the Gospel of John depicts Jesus washing his disciples' feet, you can bet it was no easy task, no hollow gesture. It was a messy, utterly human and enfleshed exercise.

No wonder Peter shied away from the Lord's gesture. No wonder he, when Jesus came to him in turn, begged the Lord not to debase himself to wash his wretched, sinful feet.

"You shall never wash my feet."

It requires tremendous humility and vulnerability to allow others to clean us. We must trust them first not to harm us, then not to judge us. We must allow ourselves to be served, a simultaneously humbling and exalting task.

To experience the holiness of this passion moment, I must allow someone to draw near to the messiest part of me.

We ar…

HW Day 2: Holy Monday, Mary, Sitting at the Feet of Christ

A short reflection for each day of Holy Week

When the woman/the sinner/Mary sister of Martha sat down before Christ to anoint his head/feet with perfume, his followers chastised her for wasting precious resources, for being over-emotional and overly-familiar with Jesus.

And, sure, she did bathe his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair, which is pretty damn intimate, but you have to wonder why this made Jesus’s followers so uncomfortable.

If you take the Gospel writer John at his word then the woman was Mary, and this was not the first time she was called out for wanting to be closer to Jesus. In fact, the only other mention we get of her is when Jesus visited the sisters at their home in Bethany, and Martha reprimanded Mary for sitting at his feet and listening to his teaching rather than helping with the housework that accompanies having a guest of such repute.

One can hardly blame Martha for harping on her sister. It’s easy to imagine her exasperated expression as she begs f…

HW Day 1: Palm Sunday and the Donkey God

A short reflection for each day of Holy Week
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Not a stallion.
Not a respectable steed at all, but a donkey.
As "triumphal entries" go, this one actually falls a bit flat. Shouldn't the God of the universe ride in on a dragon or something?
King David's victory processions were proper for his station: horses, hordes of soldiers. He really knew how to celebrate a moment of triumph. But not Jesus.
No, the God-made-flesh rode a beast hardly suited to carry luggage. A lesser, unclean thing.
He came without fanfare, without any real trappings of divinity.
Think about it though: how else would you enter a town if you knew you would not make it out alive?
Yet today we call it "triumphal", which is all well and good, but only if we can recognize the irony, the tongue-in-cheek nature of it all.
I mean sure, Christ came out on top, but not before he was tortured and killed.
Such is the bittersweet nature of Christian victory. We may wi…