Feet have been on my mind a lot lately, as David and I prepare to walk 400 km to Iona, and fret about boots that hurt our feet, or roads that are too hard, or the lumps and tender spots on our feet that have come as we’ve aged. Feet matter.
And the Bible has a lot to say about feet, literally and metaphorically:
Feet running to do evil. (Proverbs 6:18)
Feet placed on the necks of enemies. (Joshua 10:24)
God delivering our feet from stumbling. (Psalm 56:13)
God guiding our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:79)
God’s word as a lamp for our feet. (Psalm 119:105)
Feet on a rock. (Psalm 40:2)
Feet on a straight path. (Hebrews 12:13)
Mephibosheth, grandson of King Saul, neglecting to care for his feet. (2 Samuel 19:24)
King Asa of Judah’s sore feet. (1 Kings 15:23)
Bare feet. (Exodus 3:5)
Shod feet. (Ephesians 6:15)
Beautiful feet bringing good news. (Isaiah 52:7)
Feet as swift as deers’ feet. (2 Samuel 22:34)
Feet adorned with bells. (Isaiah 3:16)
Feet with six toes. (2 Samuel 21:20)
Feet cut off. (2 Samuel 4:12; Matthew 18:8)
Feet crushed. (Numbers 22:25)
Feet fastened in stocks. (Acts 16: 24)
Feet being protected by angels. (Psalm 91:12)
And my current favourite: Feet not swelling during long times of walking. (Deuteronomy 8:4)
* * *
Tonight we come to Jesus’ feet. And Jesus comes to ours.
Jairus falling at Jesus’ feet to beg him for help. (Mark 5:22)
Mary of Bethany sitting at Jesus’ feet to listen to him. (Luke 10:39)
A woman kissing Jesus’ feet and washing them with her tears. (Luke 7:38)
Another woman anointing Jesus’ feet with her jar of perfumed oil. (John 12:3)
These feet of a man who loved, taught, healed, forgave.
These feet being clung to, kissed, anointed, wept on.
Such depths of emotions being displayed so physically at Jesus’ feet.
It moves us, or perhaps embarrasses us.
Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. (John 13:5)
Taking their dusty, calloused feet in his hands and tenderly pouring water over them and drying them.
Peter’s intense discomfort with this, but Jesus wanting to show him what it is to truly love, to humbly serve.
And then the feet of Jesus after the meal walking slowly and purposefully to Gethsemane to pray, and to wait for the moment of betrayal.
And the next day…
We know what happened to those feet.
* * *
Tonight we place our feet in one another’s hands, as the disciples placed their feet in Jesus’ hands.
Tonight we wash each other’s feet, as Jesus washed his friends.’
And we believe that Jesus is here in the midst of us, humbly, lovingly teaching us again what it means to follow him;
what it means for our feet to be guided by the lamp of his words;
what it means for our feet to be on a straight path and a strong rock;
what it means to place our feet in his footsteps.