Monday, October 24, 2011

A Towel and A Basin

 "Jesus answered him, 'Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.'
 'If I , therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet.'"
                                                                                            John 13:8,14

When the disciples were gathered at the Last Supper they were wondering who would wash their feet, for they were having trouble deciding which of them was the greatest... only people who washed feet were the least. Then Jesus took a towel and a basin and began, foot by foot, to redefine greatness. This act of hands dipping into water and washing feet is an act of service not status; bringing the many small deaths of self necessary to serve our Lord and one another.  With a towel he showed us how to love, how to be least in the kingdom, how to see God deep inside the other.

Okay. Tore up my parenting card again this morning right before my daughter’s eyes while she was eating toast.  The puppy pooped in my closet.  Again.  I stuck my hand in it trying to clean it up. Mumbling anger at being a servant even to the dog. Being torn away from reading Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison during the WW2 German incarceration, my sinful undertow surfaced, sprouting and spewing anger toward my husband who was blaming me for the dog pooping. Just moments earlier I was focused on a tragedy of Hitler’s satanic regime and the horrific suffering inflicted on the innocent. I am inside truths gained from the cost of life in deaths unimaginable. I am in the presence of martyrs and saints.

Then, dog poop trivia sets me to stomp anger.  I get up and fall down, get up and fall down as if on a perpetual floor of dish soap.  There is no excuse for this outburst of selfish, petty-ugly; this unguarded moment of what brews within come out.

Reyna hauled her saxophone into the car and rode to school with it up to her ears, not saying much in a very disappointed silence.  “Now I see why you don’t like it when me and Maya fight. You will be nice to Roo when you go home?” Harsh words but I deserved them.  I, the parent gone mad, deserved the child’s piercing to the heart of my ugliness.  I had to apologize with every fiber of my being to her before she got out of the car to face her day.  I told her I loved her and I would be nice to Roo.  Oh, what example of charity I model while going berserk.

Dear God I need you to break open this ground of clay and fill me with the hummus of your ground, seed me with your will, for my will is weak and unpredictable and hurtful.  How am I to ever be close to you?  How am I to ever live radically for you when I fail at the smallest of tests? How can you tolerate me in your presence at all?  This love of yours is incomprehensible. How can you look at humanity? Aren’t we all just a few varying steps away from becoming Hitlers and henchmen? This vast fallen wasteland of our humanity stretching throughout history and before you and still you sent your Son to be crucified and risen for us.

You, in your great mercy and grace bending low to come alongside our falling, coaxing the bulbs of you to unfurl in the darkness of us. One sign of color, one bright crocus hinting your love, pushing up through the crusts of our hearts.

Oh, Lord God have mercy on us, on me in my fallen ways trying to go against the stream of sin in the deep veins of my soul. I can do nothing without you doing it through me.  I beg you help me lay down this host of self.  I beg for the divine synapse of you to illuminate me and bring me to life; to teach me to be a servant of servants; to reach for the towels and basins in the moments of my life; to see You in the eyes of those who need serving, who need loving. 

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