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Rebecca Reflects on Foot Washing – Church of St John the Evangelist

Rebecca Reflects on Foot Washing

We have just had ordination season in the Church of England and my newsfeed is full of pictures of new deacons and priests and photographs of past ordinations popping up as memories. It is exciting to see so many people answering God’s call to serve the Church in this particular way.

For me, probably the most powerful moment of my ordination as a deacon was when the Bishop of Basingstoke washed my feet. I confess I had not been looking forward to it: not only do I hate having my feet touched but it all seemed a bit embarrassing when we were told about it and full of logistical trickiness (the men of the church had not factored tights into their planning!). When it came to it, people’s prayers were answered: I did not kick the Bishop in the face – a real fear – and it felt a real privilege to be part of this visual sermon about servant leadership. Jesus was palpably present as we followed his example at the Last Supper when he washed his disciples feet and told his followers to do as he had done.

I often wonder whether Jesus was inspired to wash his disciples’ feet in part by the actions of Mary a few days earlier. In one of my favourite stories in the Bible, Mary takes a jar of incredibly expensive perfume and lavishly anoints Jesus’ feet with it before wiping his feet with her hair. This extravagant gesture is questioned by Judas but Jesus calls it a beautiful thing. Mary has responded to Jesus’ abundant love for her by this outpouring of her love for him.

These stories of the generosity of God speak to us of how much God has given us and how we might respond to that generosity in giving of our time, money and gifts. How is God calling you to respond to his love for you?

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3.16

with love and prayers