We reflect on this amazing scene from John’s Gospel how at the hour of his arrest, on the night before his execution, during the Last Supper, Jesus bends over and washes the feet of his disciples, and then puts a question to us: “Do you realize what I have done for you?” We could sit with this question for weeks. No one gets their feet washed except the emperor and his henchmen, the rulers and the rich, who put their feet up and have their slaves wash their feet and bring them food.
We are supposed to be servants of Jesus, our Lord and Master, to wash his feet, to give our lives in defense, but he says today that he is our servant, that he is serving us and he is the slave of humanity. “I have given you a model to follow,” he says, “You too should wash one another’s feet. As have done for you, you should do for one another. Blessed are you if you do it.”
As Henri Nouwen once said, we have “a bent over God,” and we are invited to be people who bend over and serve one another in humility and love. Jesus might have learned all this from the woman who a few days earlier bent down and poured oil over his feet and washed his feet with her tears and anointed him, preparing him for his death, and he decided to do the same for his community. She anointed him in preparation for his death on the cross, and he decided to anoint his followers in preparation for their deaths on their crosses.
On this Holy Thursday, we ponder that we have a bent over God, a God who serves us, a God who wants to be our food and drink, a God who wants us to put down the sword, a God who wants us to love one another.