Thursday, July 7, 2011

All about the feet

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:36-53

For some reason all of our family went home from the beach with massive amounts of mosquito bites on their feet. Feet are very strong and tender at the same time. We are presently with our granddaughter and we marvel at her feet - her perfect, tiny feet, cute toes and so expressive in the soft vulnerability. Two of my girls have small tattoos on their feet and I still cringe at the thought of the hurt to have them applied. Our feet tell so many stories. We know we belong to a certain family by our feet, we see familial traits, and decide to be swimmers and dancers because of them. Feet are often hidden, but among family and friends our bare feet bare our souls to one another.

In ancient renderings of the ascension, Jesus is often depicted as feet alone, from the perspective of the disciples who watched him go. I remember marveling at Chartres Cathedral, as the ascension was depicted as feet alone captured in the clouds. Jesus showed his disciples his feet as an intimate sign of his suffering and pain. They understood immediately who he was by his feet. They knew his scars and had walked the road with him. He had washed their feet in a gesture of love and service.

Today, I want to live fully trusting that Jesus is always bringing strength and renewal, comfort and peace, despite my fear and anxiety, despite everything that seems overwhelming today. Jesus promises to come and be with us at our most humble, at our simple breakfast tables and in the midst of our daily struggles. May we all live with the strength and courage this gives us.

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