Dirty feet

I received a gift during the Easter Vigil last year. The epistle reading was from Romans Chapter 6  verses 3 to 11. One of the verses said “we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again, death no longer has dominion over him.” For the 14 months prior to that Easter Vigil I lived in a constant state of dread knowing that my son was going to die before me.  And on April 3, 2017, he did die from complications of the melanoma that ravaged his brain…his lungs….his spine.

It was again with a sense of dread that I faced Holy Week. How could I rejoice when my son…my only begotten son….had just died.

But this verse gave me great comfort…. he has died and I have nothing more to dread, because I also know he will not die again. I trust in the promise of his baptism.

On Maundy Thursday of that Holy Week the preacher talked about the foot-washing ceremony- a commemoration of the Last Supper at which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and which the disciple Peter would not allow (because it was the work of servants-not Messiahs-to wash feet.)

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus told Peter there was no need for him to be bathed fully again because he was already cleansed. He only needed to wash his dusty feet. As we go through life our feet get dirty as we do the Lord’s work. But we have been cleansed by our baptism therefore we have no need for a full bath.

My son was not a believer. “No Jesus-eating for me!” he once said of communion. But he was baptized. He is forever claimed by the promise of that baptism.  He WAS a kind, generous, loving and brilliant man who gave fully of himself in more ways than I could ever fully comprehend. In that way, he spent his life doing God’s work….whether he called it that or not. “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me….”

As Holy Week again fast approaches, as does the anniversary of Steve’s death, I am again comforted with those words.  “Death no longer has dominion over him.”