Last night held the Maundy Thursday service. As wavering as I am in my faith, this service has always left me with a humble heart and an appreciation for tradition. The first time I experienced the washing of feet was in Sewanee at All Saints. I had no idea what was going on and as I took off my socks, walked barefoot on the cold marble floor and approached one of the chairs that encircled the alter, I had my feet washed by a favorite professor, Jim Turrell. The feeling I had at that moment has stayed with me. Tears weld up in my eyes and the simple act of a man who I respected washing my stinky size 8’s made my soul ache.
It was my first Maundy Thursday at Holy Cross Faith Memorial yesterday. The music was spot on and once again I found myself peeling off my socks and walking on cold floor tiles. At HCFM, we wash each others feet and as it was last time, I was a bit nervous at performing the task. The person’s feet I washed was a girl that does so much for our community. Always kind and welcoming to me, I read her tattoos that scrawled the edges of both feet. I did my best to pour the water and scrub her feet with a huge yellow sponge. Back at my seat, I watched as the others did the same as me and a few times I found a lump in my throat.
In a space that tends to be formal and predictable, the act of feet washing is messy and transforms with each new person that takes on the act. The symbolic meaning is also one that I want to carry with me. Like on regular Sundays, the words and songs help prepare me for the week. On Maundy Thursday, the lessons prepare me for the year. With a dramatic end and darkness taking over the church, I couldn’t help but think of Brother Ron in Chattanooga and I thought much of my husband and all the things he does that go unnoticed and unrecorded.
When we sang Were You There, it was one of those moments where even though we were all singing and together, my mind was silent and peaceful has I found myself taking in every word. It was one of those moments where the raw emotions from everyone else in the room seemed to swirl through the air touching the hearts of everyone else. For now, Maundy Thursday will stay with me and I will claim it as one of my favorite experiences as an Episcopalian. We wait with stripped alters and heavy hearts for Easter……….
The flowers are blooming and Kei Kei and Pepaw are here to celebrate Easter with us. My dear friend Cyndi and her children just left from a relaxed and love filled visit and the weather is promising to get a little warmer. Life is good.