Thursday, 5 April 2012

Washing Feet

Now, some Beaker Folk have been pressing for us to include Feet-washing as part of this evening's Maundy Thursday Meal. And the more dangerous element have been suggesting that the Leader ought to do it.

I don't know, it just doesn't feel right. I mean, it was OK for Jesus - he was naturally humble. You could see how he could pull it off. In those days all the leaders were blood-thirsty types, slave-owning farmers, tyrants like Caesar - so for Jesus to wash the disciples' feet made a real point about being a servant.

Whereas today we're a lot more managerial. You wouldn't expect Sir Alan Sugar to go washing the feet of his would-be apprentices, would you? And David Cameron wouldn't go out doing things like that, either - though he might have people to do that sort of thing for him. So it's not about not possessing humility - this is about preserving dignity.

And of course in those organic, free-range days, all the dust was nice and clean.
Whereas the roads today - they're covered in post-industrial dusts, and heavy metals from catalytic convertors - oh no, if someone these days had been walking down the roads in bare feet, their feet would be in a right state.  Nobody could be expected to take that chance.

And then, in Jesus' day they had different codes regarding personal space. Although Our Lord was perfect in many ways, he wasn't English. Whereas I am. And I'm not going all Continental just for Holy Week.

But don't get me wrong. The core of what Our Lord did - acting as a servant, showing devotion, carrying out an act of tenderness and duty - should act as an example to us all. So I'm not rejecting the idea - just updating it to these troubled, post-modern times when we know just how infectious Athlete's Foot can be.

So this evening after our Not-Quite-a-Passover Meal, when we've enjoyed Bernie's taste-free Vegetarian Morocco Casserole, we shall have the Passing Round of the Soap. Everyone will get a fresh, new bar of soap - what could be more humble than me actually sending Young Keith down to Tesco to get each of you a free bar of Value soap?

But then we will all depart in silence, as befits a solemn occasion, and you can wash your feet in the privacy of your own rooms. I don't want a load of sweaty feet being washed in the Moot House. Ugh. It's meant to be a holy place.


  1. The serious thing about all of this is actually washing your feet before you go to the Maundy service. As a precaution, also make sure that you have clean pants on.

    These precautions are essential, who wants to be found with dirty feet, if selected for washing. And, who knows what emergency might arise during the service. As the Para-Medics cut your clothes off, Clean pants are a pre-requisite for treatment, otherwise you might be abandoned to nature.

    As an afterthought. Would I allow para-medic's to cut off my designer Donkey Jacket and Italian Sweatshirt and Woolworths jeans. I doubt it.

  2. As a public servant, I think Cameroon should wash the public's feet.

  3. PS - do you have anything for King's Evil? I feel a bout coming on...

  4. PPS - a small monarch would do, or even minor royalty.

  5. Well, thanks to the after effects of a Thai green curry at lunchtime, I never made it to church, so the imperative for clean feet and pants was rendered uneccessary.


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