Compline Reflection 26th March 2024

Tuesday: Feet

Come see his hands and his feet, the scars that speak of sacrifice, hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered.

See Christ’s feet nailed to the main beam of the cross; nailed with the same brutality as his hands have been pinned. Again see the splintered bones, the torn and shredded sinews as the nails hold him there powerless to move; frozen there in an agony of time. Feet pointing downwards to the earth he had walked upon so freely. His persecutors believe they have ensured that never more will this man, this criminal, this blasphemer roam abroad; that by this act of naked barbarism they have successfully and irrevocably curtailed his movements; stripped him of  his ability to walk abroad unfettered upon the ground of God’s creation.

These were the feet that like the hands were once wondered at in their perfection; tiny but like all the wonders of the human body intricately fashioned and designed. Did Mary and Joseph examine each toe, caress the sole and wonder where these feet would one day take him. These were the feet on which he took his first tottering steps; lurching unsteadily as he fought to control his balance; to propel himself forward; to reach the chosen goal. And as he grew confident these were the feet on which he learned to run, to jump, to send a stone skittling across the pathway or to tiptoe away to the secret pursuits that entrance small children.

Think of your own feet; maybe even remove your shoes and wiggle your toes. Reflect upon how these feet have grown over the years; perhaps becoming misshapen and calloused; aching after a long time spent standing or after an over ambitious walk. Think of how they have kicked balls, or danced, or raced to catch a bus or win that hundred metres. Think of the joy of walking barefoot along a sandy beach or new mown grass. Reflect upon all your feet mean to you.

These are the feet that turned back on the journey home and took him, oblivious of the anxiety he would cause by his absence, to His Father’s house.  These are the feet that wandered through the desert places as he wrestled with Satan in preparation for his divine ministry. These are the feet that tramped the hills and countryside of Galilee; mile upon dusty mile covered as he strode to show to those who would listen; those who would learn in the power of the Spirit that he alone was the way; the only true way.

Think or look at your feet. Where have they travelled in your life’s journey? How many times have they led you to turn aside to worship in some place where you felt the call of God? What wonderful and amazing valleys or mountains have they taken you to; there to gaze overwhelmed with the rapture of the moment and give thanks and praise for some of the glories of creation? When have these feet led you into testing times of temptation; times when you perhaps have found it hard to reverse your route and find again the narrow way; the narrow way where your feet follow dutifully but willingly in the footsteps of Christ?

These are the feet that were usually dirty; clothed in dust, shod in simple sandals and washed, if custom was observed, when he entered as a guest into a stranger’s home. These are the feet that Mary anointed with expensive perfume; the fragrance filling the house. These are the feet that she dried with her hair. Perfume intended for his burial but now used on living feet; feet that were free from any restricting nails. Feet that had traversed the paths of the weary, the lame, the crippled and the paralysed.

Think or look at your feet and reflect when they have been dirty, dust encrusted and when perhaps someone has in simple service bathed them, caressed and massaged them. Into whose homes have these feet taken you and what have you found there? Have you too discovered as Christ did the needs of others and walked in love to embrace them?

These are the feet that strode purposefully into that upper room where his disciples awaited him. These were the feet of the man who stripped off his clothes, wrapped a towel around himself and knelt, knelt in servility, knelt in humility to wash the feet of those chosen men. Washed away the dirt accumulated during the day, washed away the deeply ingrained dirt, massaged the callouses and the cuts to restore those feet to cleanliness, to comfort, to ease. These are the feet on which he stood firm as a rock purposeful and focused in order to bless bread and wine for his chosen guests.

Think or look at your feet when they have taken you purposefully to unexpected places? When have they taken you to places where you have found the dirty, the unclean, the damaged and the wounded? Have you knelt to wash the feet of such people? Have you humbled yourself, deliberately and in love made yourself as servant to others? Are you being called even now to walk into a situation where you are needed to follow the example of Christ? and will you follow him faithfully through the coming days to the very foot of the cross?

O Jesus thou hast promised to all who follow thee, that where thou art in glory there shall thy servant be; and Jesus, I have promised to serve thee to the end: O give me grace to follow, my Master and my friend.

O let me see thy footsteps and in them plant mine own; my hope to follow duly is in thy strength alone: O guide me call me, draw me, uphold me to the end; and then in heaven receive me, my Saviour and my friend.

Rev’d Virginia Smith / 26th March 2024

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