Sermon – April 2, 2015
The Rev. Rebecca S. Myers, CSW
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Corbin, KY
Maundy Thursday Bulletin 4-2-2015 (Maundy Thursday)
But who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:27
Please be seated.
“You have beautiful feet.” My friend Dan came back from his first trip to South Africa in the early years of this century. He had visited with families in the Black township of Soweto. Whenever someone just dropped by, totally unannounced, they were greeted with, “You have beautiful feet.” What wasn’t said, but was fully understood is that the visitor had beautiful feet, because they arrived at the home at just the right time! How many of us would respond in a similar manner?
I know often when I am “interrupted,” I feel annoyed, rather than grateful. Earlier this week, I was still in my bike-riding clothes, which are somewhat tattered. My hair was combed and at least I wasn’t in my pajamas. The doorbell rang and a man introduced himself. His feet brought him to my door, because he wanted to see if we at St. John’s would allow an Al-Anon group to meet each week at the church.
I was and am excited about this opportunity for us to be of service. The closest Al-Anon groups are in London and Barbourville, yet AA groups meet every day of the week and there are NA meetings here too. In other words, there are plenty of friends of people who are alcoholics or affected by alcoholism that could benefit from Al-Anon.
I believe ever since I came to St. John’s, people have said they’d like us to host 12-step groups. We used to have AA groups here. The Vestry brought this up again as we looked at our newly-adopted Mission statement, printed on the front of your bulletin, “Proclaiming the Gospel, promoting justice, and preparing a diverse community of seekers to reflect the welcoming love of Christ.” And of course, with our recent Saturday event and Sunday emphases on addiction and recovery from addiction with The Rev. Dr. Stuart Hoke, we certainly let each other and our community know we are interested in supporting people in recovery.
So my visitor on Monday certainly had beautiful feet. He was certainly brought to my door at just the right time.
And tonight we remember that our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated the importance of our beautiful feet in carrying his message of love and justice. Most of us have probably forgotten what it’s like to walk long distances…to walk everywhere we need to go in a day. But imagine walking the dusty roads all day and not really having readily available running water. By the end of the day, you’d at least want to wash the dust off of your feet. It’d be so soothing and comforting. Having someone do it for you would mean you’d also get a little comforting massage.
I mean, we take our cars in for regular oil changes and upkeep or at least we should do that. Our cars are our means of transportation so we take care of them. Well, in Jesus’ day, their feet were their main mode of transportation…the main mode of spreading the message and reaching out and meeting people.
Yet, it was considered a servant’s job to wash and care for the “owner’s feet.” It was not appropriate for the leader to do this job. Jesus upends the understanding of leadership. Jesus wants to be sure we have all we need to do God’s work here on earth, including caring for a most basic and sometimes loathed body part – our dirty, stinky, smelly feet.
Tonight you can have your feet washed here. Yes, it’s a vulnerable thing to do to bare your feet and have someone else touch them or to wash another’s feet. It’s intimate. We learn new things about each other, maybe. We open ourselves up to give and to receive love and care from each other.
So, you have beautiful feet. They brought you this evening and bring you into this community of St. John’s and this sacred, holy, special place. They bring you to this altar to receive the meal, which we remember Jesus instituted on this Maundy Thursday. And they take you out into the world to spread God’s love, peace and justice.
You have beautiful feet, because they brought you here at just the right moment!