Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Of Dirty Feet and Hair

I’m gonna just dive right in here straight, no chaser, shaken not stirred.  Mary, Lazarus’ sister washed Jesus’ dirty feet with her hair (her glory, her crown) (Revelation 2:10, 3:11, 9:7) (I Corinthians 11:15) in chapter 12 of John’s gospel before Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in chapter 13.  Hmmm.  A woman again steps out first and lays it all on the line for a man – her body, her tears, her reputation, her glory.  Under a man’s dirty feet.  She wore no wigs, or extensions.  It was all her hair.  She wasn’t fake, but she was the real deal.
Dirty feet, crusted with donkey and camel manure, mixed with dirt and dust from how many days?  Okay, how many hours?  Does it really matter?  Dooky is dooky.  Dirt is dirt.  And a woman’s hair is on her head around her face and shoulders.  Mary took the daily stench of walking and being strangers off of Jesus and bore it upon herself, wiping his feet clean with her tears and perfume.  Do you realize how much water she needed to clean His feet?  She did some heavy duty weeping, with her face on His feet.  Have we ever wept like that where a bowl of tears could be collected from our eyes because of . . . love?

I don’t just lay it all down at your feet Jesus – my glory that is:  my (hmm, are they really mine since they all came from Him in the first place?) talents, gifts, anointing, charisma, fortunes, fame, education, beauty, shapely and muscular body, etc.  Those “beautiful” things that I wear on the “top” of my head; Those things that define my personality; Those things which identify me to the world and create around me a fan base who follow . . . me?  Oh Jesus I lay them all down at your feet, but not only that, but I wash your feet with all of my accomplishments, my tears of pain and gratitude for what you’ve done in, for and to me, and the perfume of my life, my praise and worship and adoration because of Who YOU are.

Then Jesus turned around and washed the dirty feet of His disciples, a bunch of judgmental, proud, wealthy, arrogant, selfish, critical, muscular, fishy smelling, educated doctors and lawyers and tax collectors, always sleeping when they should be praying, athletic and competitive writers over flowing with testosterone cowards, Benedict Arnolds, snitches, thieves, backbiters, often wanting to use God’s fire from heaven to burn up people, places and things, MEN.  There were no women in that room in John’s gospel account, and if there were, he on purpose did not bring attention to them.  No, it was a man’s world where Jesus let down His hair before them.  Jesus became vulnerable before them, to and with them.  He took that part of themselves that they hated (and loved) in and about themselves and others, and washed it.  He took that part of themselves that they used to judge and reject others, and themselves, and washed them.  He touched them – man to man with no sexual connotations, no gender identity issues, no, not at all.  Brother to brother, Father to son.  

Jesus ministered to the hurting little boys hidden away inside each of them.  He reached out and touched them where they had been raped, molested, abused, accused and misused, but which had been covered up by their family names, education and professions, their zoot suits and Stacey Addams sandals, their Louis Vuitton man-bags, and Cartier earrings.  Oh what they had so successfully hidden from others with their affluence, attitudes and arrogance, Jesus respected them enough to wait to uncover behind closed doors, by washing their feet.

To touch someone’s feet is a very intimate act but because most of us do not care very well for our own feet, and because most feet are not beautiful and carry a very bad odor, we reject the feet – one of the most sensual parts of the body.  But every single organ in the body can be located in the feet by a trained masseuse, and they can identity internal problems through the feet as well.  Could this also be what Jesus was doing by washing their feet?  Ministering to their internal disorders by touching their feet?  See, we don’t know exactly how many hours He was with them in that room, but we do know that He washed 12, not one or two, but 12 pairs of stinking and dirty MEN’s feet – not women and children.  But cantankerous “You shall not wash my feet” know-it-all men. J

Imagine a women’s hair, nail and foot salon with the fans blowing, chemical fumes, hair hanging and flying around everywhere, children in strollers crying and hungry and chatter chatter chatter, all day long.  You just got back from one didn’t you?  Okay now imagine a men’s barbershop – arguing, politics, religion, young and old, testerone flying, competition, television, news, sports, laughter, profanity, gays and straights, just LOUD.  Well, Jesus had twelve clients that evening and He washed not only their physical feet, but their souls with His love.  This took some time.
Then He told them to do the same for each other.  Hmmm.  When was the last time you washed and massaged someone else’s feet?  Literally?  After much walking, carrying heavy bags and luggage, singing and dancing and preaching on stage, the feet take a licking and have to keep on kicking.  When was the last time you or I reached out in purity and innocence - the Spirit of Jesus’ love (WWJD) and washed and massaged a sister or a brother’s tired feet?  When was the last time someone did this for you?  For me?  Physically?  Spiritually?

Now I don’t expect anyone to wash the feet of others with their hair and not even with the removable kind, but a nice gentle foot soak and massage can do wonders for the soul and body.  Oh, and then to pray for them at the same time.  What a holy moment!  Laying our glory at each other’s feet.  If those of us who say we are disciples of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, would do this to and for each other, egos would die, humility would be birthed and increase in us at such a powerful rate, and so many of us would experience inner healing from our hidden and secret pains.  If the Bible had not told us her name was Mary, I would ask “was her name Rapunzel?”  J