April 18, 2019

18 April 2019 – Maundy Thursday – 7.30pm – High Mass of the Last Suppert – Revd Michael Camp

Passage: John 13:1-17

We apologise for the fact that parts of this sermon appear in the form of notes rather than a full text. we hope it is understandable...

So Maundy Thursday is all about feet. Well maybe not ALL, but quite  a lot

At centre of our observance is washing of feet.- ministry, service, humility.

  • The Pope kissed the feet of warring leaders in S. Sudan
  • Officer in 1WW trench
  • Chiropodist at Routes to Roots

Somehow attending to someone’s feet seems to be a particularly deep form of care for them and I don’t doubt that that is why this charming if somewhat odd story has remained so evocative for Christians all down the centuries

If you were here on Monday for healing service you’ll recall that the Gospel set for Monday was also about feet – woman anointing Jesus’ feet

Jesus feet were attended to before he attended to those of his disciples – as so often in the gospels it’s a woman who leads the way

So what about feet?

Our place in the world, our place on the earth, our contact with the earth beneath us, our feet are where we stand

The physical foundation of our existence in the world. Everything rests on our feet. Maybe that’s why they ache sometimes

Reflexology

My feet massage pleasurable, comforting

Sometimes erotic

As we reflect this evening on Jesus washing the feet of his disciples maybe we can hold all those things about feet in our minds. As we come forward and have our feet washed and as we share in the washing of someone else’s feet we can hold all those things in our minds.

We’re attending to the absolute foundation of someone’s being, we’re affirming their place in the world; the place where they stand; we’re offering comfort and pleasure and affirmation; we’re doing something that may relate to that person’s entire body and their mind too.

Feet can be rather nasty and smelly things so attending to someone else’s feet can be a real sacrifice.

As I think about the washing of feet this evening there‘s something else that has sprung to my mind and it arose from one of the sessions in our Lent course, perhaps you may remember it.

Talking about what the church is for - +Nick Baines wrote that the task of the church was to create “a space where someone might find that they have been found by God.”

Well, how might someone find that they have been found by God?

Well, it occurs to me that to answer that question we could do a lot worse than look at what the washing of feet is like: tenderness; affection; affirmation; refreshment and renewal; a peace that is able to touch every part of our being and that touches the most fundamental parts of ourselves; a sense that the place where I stand in the world is God’s place for me, a sense that that is right and good and that God is planting me here and nurturing my growth on this spot and that’s good; that leads to a sense of peace I think

Now for someone to feel all those things might be what being found by God looks like; affection, affirmation, peace, refreshment and so on.

So on this day we call Maundy when we are called to reflect on the ministry of the church, perhaps all that describes what the church is for and describes how the church can enable people to find that they have been found by God

In the end this is not about a challenge to us to do something as church. Maundy Thursday is about what Jesus has already done for us. He has attended to the very roots of our being bringing refreshment and renewal; he affirms our place in the world and calls us to grow here; he offers affection and tenderness. As you bare your foot for washing this evening, remember what Jesus Christ has done for you because he loves you.