Washing the Disciples feet
Holy Week Monologues
This is a series of monologues that take us through the final week of Jesus life. The stories are told in the voices of women who were there. As we move from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday these stories invite us to hear anew the ancient words and see through a new lens.
Washing the Disciples feet is the fifth in the seven part series.
Washing the Disciples feet
My name is Salome. In the stories you share, my name is only used once as one of the women present at the tomb. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and I brought spices to the tomb so that we might prepare Jesus body as was the custom of our faith. When we arrived, the stone to the tomb had been rolled away and we were told to go and tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. We were amazed and frightened and uncertain. But I am getting ahead of myself. I was among those who walked with Jesus for a couple of years by this time. I listened to his teachings, shared with him around the table and witnessed his care and compassion for all.
I’d like to share with you today what happened the night before he was crucified. Tensions had been mounting for some time and that final week Jesus seemed more determined than ever before. Many of us were worried. It seemed like he was going out of his way to tick off the authorities and there was no doubt in our minds that this would not end well. Jesus wanted us to see the world the way that God intended – a place of justice and peace; a place where barriers were no more and people walked side by side. This frightened some, especially those in positions of power. For those of us who followed him, his vison spoke to the longings of our souls and gave us reason to hope for a brighter future.
At the beginning of the week we arrived in Jerusalem for the festival of Passover. Having determined the place and preparing it, on Thursday night we arrived as family to share in the sacred meal of our people. During the meal we would light the candles, tell the stories of our journey from slavery into freedom and the hope for the coming day of restoration. We knew the ritual well. However, as with most things with Jesus, there were moments of insight and wonder.
The room was ready and as we entered, we were met by Jesus. In his hand was a basin and a towel. That was when the most amazing thing happened. Something that spoke louder than any spoken word and that touched each of us in a different way. Jesus knelt in front of each of us and washed our feet, wiping away the dirt and grime of the journey. I can still feel the presence of the spirit that filled the room that night. His gentle touch told me of his love and compassion. Many times he had spoken about his leadership being different, that it was about servanthood and now I think I finally understood.
Jesus was concerned about each individual and he empowered us all to be all that we were created to be. Just in case we didn’t get it, as had been the situation on other occasions, this time Jesus said
“Do you know what I have done?”
Then he went on to answer the question himself
“I have washed your feet. You also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
It was as if he were passing the mantle on to us. The time had come for us to do as he had done – share power, put the needs of others first and help all who cross our path to perform to their full potential.
Although that night we did not know fully what this would look like, we, by our presence accepted his commission. We took up his ministry in the weeks and years ahead and we tried our best to live into his dream. For generations now, this ministry has been passed from one to the other which leads us to this day. As the hands and feet and voice of Jesus, I invite you now to hold the bowl and wash the hands of the person sitting next to you. As you do remember his words
“What I have done for you, you ought to do for one another”
May you feel his presence, hear his voice and know his gift to you. May you, this take up the mantle and continue to live into his dream.
© 2019 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury.