Scenes From A Foot Washing

We are into our eighth year of our family gathering for a Last Supper service the Thursday before Easter. In it we have communion with bread and wine, and Luke washes our feet.

My preparations for our little feast began a while ago, but didn’t start with the bread. I was thinking about my feet. The last year has been difficult for them, inside and out. Over last summer I developed what we thought was plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and began targeting the pain with massage, ice, a tight sock, and new running shoes that had extremely high arch support. Unfortunately, even though the shoes were good for my heel, they quickly became a nemesis for my big toe nails, as they were a tighter fit than any pairs I had worn in the past. It was love versus duty putting them on each day, thinking this was what was best but not being very happy about it ( much like my compression hose! ). I thought I would eventually need to see a foot doctor, to confirm the pf, and probably to remove my big toe nails, as they were a sorry lot. It didn’t seem right to do this during pregnancy; I didn’t feel like dealing with it yet.

Long about last month, I noticed the nail on my right foot wasn’t hurting anymore. Woo hoo! Maybe I could get over this on my own after all. Then a few weeks ago, I realized that my left nail wasn’t bothering me anymore either. But my right was looking like it was going to fall off; it was halfway there. That must be the ultimate price I pay to doctor my plantar fasciitis at home. We’ll have to see.

So last week, I’m looking at my feet and thinking about the upcoming foot washing. How did they look? Actually, they looked better than they had all year, but I toyed with the idea of painting the nails to hide the half dead one. Then nobody would notice, especially Luke. I ended up just going into it au naturale, and got no comments from him. It was dark, which helped.

The darkness is because we lay a spread of bread, wine, and a candle on a low table, and turn out the lights. This helps some with littles and their wiggles. While they are excited at this strange event, they are also wanting to tune in to see what is going to happen, so mostly sit still. Elijah and Julia’s act this year included a minion like ‘step towards the candle flame and see how close you can get before a parent or grandma or sibling grabs you’.

Also noted were the conversations around the circle that had nothing to do with anything, jabbing at elbows, and giggles when their feet got wet. Elijah moved from Sam’s lap to a bench beside Kenan, so when Luke got to Kenan, he didn’t remember he had already washed Elijah’s feet. So many of them.

I like to think that THE last supper was kind of like this, with familiar jabbing and poking, jokes about stinky feet and meaningless chatter in that hallowed room. Though Jesus’ subject matter was heavy, and there were a lot of unknowns, this was still a family, with shy ones and clowns, some serious and some silly.

I’m not sure why we started doing this as a part of our Easter celebration, but it probably has to do with wanting some traditions that our children can learn from and look back on. One probing question for me has always been, would Jesus rather us celebrate His birthday, or His death and resurrection? Of course, we are free to do both, but the more we try to absorb what He did for us in His sacrificial death and raising in new life, the better we can know Him.

“That I may know Him…” -Paul