Maundy Thursday – Andrew of Capernaum

This Holy Week, Water Daily looks at the readings appointed for each day and reflect from the perspective of one the people on the fringes of the story. We too are on the fringes of this story – and we are invited to come into its heart this week. May these holy men and women draw us closer. You can listen to this reflection here. Today’s gospel reading is here. 

Andrew of Capernaum: My brother! Jesus sure nailed it with the nickname he gave him, Petros. The rock. Never met anyone so hard-headed. And lovable, ornery, faithful, cowardly – all rolled into one ball of leap-before-you-look, speak-before-you-think energy. He’s been like that since we were kids – got me into trouble more times than I care to remember, and usually all I was doing was watching.

So tonight, when Jesus got up from the table, tied on that towel and began to wash our feet, and we’re all looking at each other, mortified – it’s Peter who put into words what a lot of us were thinking. “Lord, you’re gonna wash my feet? Think again!” Jesus just looked at him with that mix of irritation and love he so often had for Peter, and said, “If you don’t let me wash you, you have no part with me.” But Peter doesn’t let it rest – he has to argue. With our Master! On this night of all nights! “Okay, wash all of me, then! Why stop with my feet?”

Jesus had an answer for him, of course. He always did. It was part of their game – Peter pushing as hard as he could, Jesus coming right back at him. Oh, how they loved each other. Love each other.

It was hard for Peter to submit to being cared for. Hard for all of us. When Jesus got to me, I didn’t want him to touch my feet. They’re not pretty. They were filthy, as feet were in our time. But he focused on that task like it was the only thing in the world he had to do. He got them clean, he rinsed and dried them, and I just had to sit there and receive that gift. I think that was the hardest of all the things Jesus has asked us to do in the three years since I met him along the banks of the Jordan. Just sit and receive his gift. Helpless.

Little did I know that that’s all I would be doing for the next 24 hours – watching him give his life away for me, powerless to help him, nothing left for me but to receive his gift. And if I have trouble being this still and helpless, what on earth must my poor brother be going through?

How are you at receiving care from others? How are you at receiving the gifts God wants to give to you?
It’s harder for most people to submit to having someone else wash their feet than it is to wash another’s (unless we’re paying for a pedicure…). Yet arguably our most important spiritual task is learning to take in the love and grace and power of God so we can share it freely with others. 
Tonight, I hope you’re going to church (our service is at 6 pm at Christ Church Wayside, if you’re in southern Maryland…). I hope you’ll have a chance to receive the ministry of footwashing, and to offer it. In that order. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow in grace. 

© Kate Heichler, 2024. To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereHere are the bible readings for Maundy Thursday. Water Daily is also a podcast – subscribe to it here on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform.

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