Thursday, April 17, 2014

The washing of feet: a call to love and a challenge to gender and privilege By Savi Hensman 17 Apr 2014

..."The footwashing scene occurs only in John’s gospel, though Matthew, Mark and Luke also depict the ‘last supper’. By this point, Jesus has gathered a large following, especially among the marginalised and dispossessed, but become a focus for the hostility for much of the religious and political elite...Throughout all the gospels, Jesus constantly overturns expectations of how society is supposed to function and indeed what God is like.In John’s gospel, the day after Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he is condemned by the secular and religious authorities and crucified. His mother and the disciple Jesus loves in a special way, who lay against his breast during supper, are standing by. He tells them, “Woman, here is your son”, and ”Here is your mother”, after which the disciple takes her into his own home, joined in a family linked through love and faith not birth. And, though society does not greatly value women’s testimony, on the third day it is another woman, Mary of Magdala, who is chosen to be the first witness of the resurrection.The way of love, where food and drink are shared with the physically hungry and God’s own self is offered as spiritual nourishment, is profoundly challenging. Following this path may involve straying far outside one’s comfort zone, even risking one’s life. Yet it leads to hope, and – Christians believe – triumph over death itself."

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