Musings, On a Second Holy Week with No Washing of Feet: March 22nd 2021
Reading the headline you may be shaking your head and thinking Lloyd has surely lost it… well, maybe I have. But let me try and explain.
This Sunday, March 28th will see us mark what has been traditionally been called Palm/Passion Sunday. Pain Sunday because it is the Sunday of the liturgical year when we remember Jesus entry into Jerusalem on a colt as people spread cloaks and palm branches before him shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord…” And Passion Sunday because it is often the case that the Palm Sunday service ends with the reading of the Passion Narrative – the story of the crucifixion so that all gathered may hear that story even if they are unable to attend a gathering on Good Friday to hear the story.
Palm Sunday begins Holy Week – a week in which the Church has come to recall the final days of Jesus ministry, and depending on which gospel you are reading and what scholar you give allegiance too, these events vary – but the one thing that all of the gospels agree on, and most every modern scholar agrees on, is that at some point in the last week of Jesus’ life he celebrated the Passover with his friends. The gospel of John highlights within this event the act of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and throughout the ages this act has been lifted up again and again as a reminded of our call to be servants to one another and to the world.
Yes, I will grieve not being able to mark Maundy Thursday next week. I will miss the opportunity to be together and hear the ancient words together “This is my body…”. I will miss breaking a common loaf and sharing a common cup. But most of all I will miss washing the feet of those gathered and having someone wash mine – I’ll miss the touch and vulnerability that this experience calls us to…
In ancient Palestine, foot-washing was one of the greatest acts of hospitality and care. It was an embodied act—focused on tending to the place where humans carried the wear and tear of travel and daily life. To wash the feet of another was to attend to the filth that was accumulated along the way – it was a practice normally administered by servants – but a role that Jesus assumed, after which the author of the gospel of John’s writes “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Foot-washing is a practice of radical vulnerability, of being seen and known and the absence of this practice for yet another year leaves me thinking that Good Friday will be somehow lacking in that absence.
Today I worked from home getting caught up on phone calls and correspondence and making plans for the rest of the week followed by a meeting at 4:30PM with a local community group.
Tuesday will see me at the office where I will host or take part in six different meetings over the course of the day including the Preacher’s Help Group at 10:30AM and a Regional Workshop on Stewardship at 1PM. At 7PM I will host our Journey in Lent (Small Group Stud) via Zoom.
And then, I will be back in the office for another full day on Wednesday. In the morning Bea Gauthier our co-op student will be with us and I’ll be attending to a couple of pastoral visit followed by a meeting with a couple planning a wedding. At 2:30PM I will host a monthly Spiritual Journey Group followed by our Weekly Virtual Community Meal via Zoom at 5PM and when that is done I’ll join with the Executive of Sackville United Church for their monthly Business Meeting.
I will be working from home on Thursday as I finalize the liturgy and reflection for Sunday.
Friday and Saturdays will be days off and on Sunday we’ll gather to mark Palm/Passion Sunday at both Upper Sackville United (9AM) and Sackville United (11AM) and Facebook Live (11AM). Watch for the time and location of our Good Friday service to be posted on the website and on Facebook,
Sackville United Church will host its Annual Congregational Meeting immediately following the Sunday Gathering on March 28th and you may choose to take part either in-person or via Zoom.