Thinking about kindness and foot washing.
Every year in our Maundy Thursday ritual we eat together, we wash feet together, we read/listen to poetry/story together.
For years (and years) I happily hid behind the piano and played my way through the footwashing part of the service. It completely freaked me out. I did not want anybody to wash (or even touch) my feet--nor did I want to bathe (or even touch) anyone else's feet. No thank you. I sent a VERY strong silent message that I was not interested. Then one Thursday evening, many years ago now, a sweet man in our music circle invited me into the footwashing circle. I said yes, please.
Why had I waited so long? This is the most tender and beautiful symbol of Christian love and caring.
I reciprocated and washed his feet. Again, why had I waited so long? To offer and receive a gentle touch. To be reminded to be kind--that we are capable of kindness. So very good. Since then I've washed and been washed quite a few times. It is always surprising and sweet. A simple act of kindness-acted out in quiet and with love.
This year our rector Bill Harper has invited some of the high school kids to join him out on a street corner in our little downtown main street to offer footwashing to passersby. Bill has done this solo once before and as you can imagine, the stories are good. Turns out folks out on the street say YES to footwashing.
Yes indeedy, we are capable of kindness.
We are also capable of great violence.
This is the day we remember to hold the tension of both truths.
This service is musically quite spare usually a few chants and some instrumental footwashing music.
Sharing some poetry we may use in the liturgy and a few song ideas too.
Kindness by Ryan Adams
Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch
My salvation lies in your love.
The Sun (literary magazine) has a piece in the March 2013 issue by Steven Robertson titled Punch.
There is not an online source but PLEASE find a copy of the magazine. It speaks about the violence and potential for violence within each of us. Here is an excerpt:
"I didn't punch him, but I wanted to, with every fiber of my being. For a moment in the kitchen, at one in the morning, I wanted to smash the face of the boy I'd seen emerge into this world from inside the woman I love, the boy I'd rocked and cuddled and wept over when he was sick, the boy whose vast grace and humor I'd marveled at as doctors rebuilt his faulty plumbing, as he lay many an hour sore afraid. For a moment in my kitchen I was my own sweet, gentle father, goaded beyond reason and love, cocking a fist to end an argument, close a mouth, finish a war."Powerful stuff.
by William Maxwell
(The Very Rev. William F. Maxwell, former dean of The Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Salt Lake City and presently one of the associate clergy at Grace)
"In lieu of flowers, vote for a Democrat."
Obituary, Salt Lake City Tribune
I have no immediate plan
to die, but certainly
the day is coming.
I have some thoughts
about my own obituary.
"In lieu of flowers.....
...make love slowly.
...have a drink with a friend, and remember me.
...take global warming seriously.
...sing a song you remember from your childhood.
...adopt a homeless dog or cat.
...wander slowly through your town library.
...make love again, more slowly.
...give a gift to help hungry children.
...write the loving letter you've been meaning to write.
...pay attention to a flower or a bird or a cloud.
...do something peaceable.
...remember there are a hundred ways
of making love beyond sex. Try one.
...think of me, and grin.
...remember a time when I told the truth,
or pointed you toward hope,
of spoke of God's love.
...surprise yourself.Or, if you must, send flowers."
I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan