I grew up in a Christian household. Good Friday was a big deal.
We always went to church in the middle of the day–so did just about everyone else in our small Michigan town (or they stayed indoors between noon and 3 pm out of respect).
There was one year, though, when my father and I spent that time cleaning and moving damaged furniture out of an apartment he owned right on Main Street. I was so embarrassed when a few cars went by. I could tell my father was not happy either, but the renters had left it in terrible condition and prospective tenants were coming to look–after church, of course.
I am reminded of this today, as Jonathan and I fly to California. We’ll be going to the airport and boarding during that same time.
Of course, today, fewer people seem to take Good Friday seriously, and even fewer go to church during the traditional noon to 3:00 pm hours. I am sure the airport will be very busy.
I am delighted to be visiting Jonathan’s family (they are mine, too), but I will miss church.
While in the air, I will spend some time in prayer, thanking Jesus for living into and beyond his fear and being so loving.
Today, for Christians, is Holy Thursday. At many churches, services this evening will include footwashing, based on the account in John 13.
Some people shy away from this practice, because they feel awkward about their feet or because they worry that they will encounter stinky feet. But I think the biggest reason is that we are uncomfortable with the idea of Jesus serving us.
For me, however, this is the heart of Christian faith–being willing to accept that God, in the person of Jesus, desires an intimate relationship with us. Such a relationship involves more than mental agreement; it involves actually touching each other, emotionally and physically.
Such a relationship means being vulnerable. And that may be the hardest part of footwashing: accepting the care of another. When we do that, we are not in control.
That is the amazing thing: despite what so many think, neither Jesus nor God desire to control us. They want to be in relationship with us.
So, go to church, pray, sing, hug one another, but most of all: take off your shoes and socks, stick out your feet, and receive the blessing. Your heart, and your feet, will feel better.