Thursday, March 28, 2013
Maundy Thursday: Not giving up on footwashing
I posted this over at the On Fire blog, so it was written with an eye to young people working for justice in the UMC, but I think it applies. Today, Maundy Thursday, Christians remember what's often called the Last Supper, which, in John's gospel, which is saturated in eucharistic imagery, is the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. (John 13:1-20)
Today, we remember events that it seems impossible for us to remember, events that happened centuries ago. We reenact. We inhabit stories, live into texts. We repeat the words: "Do this and remember me." "If I have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet."
We are supposed to wash each other's feet.
Here is what I think that means, for young people seeking God and seeking justice in the world today.
It means taking care of each other at our most vulnerable places, the places that we want to hide away.
It means that, while we're rallying at the Supreme Court or celebrating divestment victories (and asking "what's next?") or organizing for worker justice or calling our members of Congress, we don't forget to take care of each other. We don't forget that we are all soft and hurting, that we each come with our own stories, our own wrinkles, our own mess.
It means that we never forget that we work for justice because people, real people, are being hurt. That those people have names. That they have stories. That this is not ultimately about particular policies or parties or pieces of legislation--those things are all of vital importance, don't get me wrong--but about people. People we need to listen to. And that often is going to mean, inasmuch as this is at all possible, divesting ourselves of power. Or at the very least being critical of the sort of power that keeps us from caring for each other as equals.
We have a lot to do. A lot of work to take on. A lot of tasks to accomplish. But we have to remember that we will not always be tireless in our work for justice. That we, and the people we work with, will stumble. Will struggle. Will burn out.
We have to be willing to bend down into those places, and to love, to love, to love.
Friends, one thing we have to remember. We gotta wash each other's feet.