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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Our dirty feet

Don't hide them from loving hands

Peter: "You will never wash my feet."
Jesus: "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." John 13:8


Real love requires vulnerability, the willingness to serve and be served, to reveal the unlovely parts to one another. In touching and washing the feet of the ones he loved, Jesus made concrete what it means to love intimately — to "have share" with one another.

What we withhold continues to give us pain — whether it be smelly feet, an unsightly scar, a sinful past or a deep fear. God does not hold back from us that gruesome event of Jesus' death on the cross. To have share in that death means to have share in the resurrection to new life.

Walking together during Lent in the 21st century, we find the journey more antiseptic than it was for those who walked with Jesus. But underneath our neat shoes are our dirty feet — out of reach of loving, healing hands. Unless we wash each other, we will have no share with one another.

May God give us courage to offer our dirty feet to those with whom we would walk. Teach us to have share with one another.


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