During Bible study classes Iâ€™ve taught, I may query the students about the three things Jesus asked his followers to go and do.
Itâ€™s a darn good Easter question.
Two answers usually come easily from the students: baptism and communion. (Or dunking and dining, to be flippant.)
While I wonâ€™t share lengthy insights about the profound theology and tradition of those rituals, few Christians doubt their importance. Whether a believer is liberal or conservative, traditional or radical, nearly all agree on communionâ€™s reminder of holy nourishment and baptismâ€™s call to a lifetime of discipleship. And so much more . . .
What about the third request?
Most donâ€™t remember Jesus requested his followers to wash anotherâ€™s feet. Maybe youâ€™ve seen the Pope kneel to symbolically wash a few soles during Holy Week. Perhaps in your church youâ€™ve done it on Maundy Thursday. Regardless of how itâ€™s explained or remembered, ritually washed feet have lost out in â€œpopularityâ€ compared to dunking and dining.
I understand. Weâ€™re not a 24/7 sandal-wearing culture anymore. Weâ€™re well-heeled and high-heeled, Mary-Janed and wing-tipped, a people of many soles. A whole lot of folks, especially in contemporary American society, squirm over exposed tootsies. (Ohh, Iâ€™m ticklish. Arrgh, my toes are gnarly.) However, all flippancy aside, Iâ€™m grateful Jesus asked us to remember the humble act of serving another. Down and dirty, sandal to sandal, face to face, sole to sole . . . and of course, soul to soul.
We say on Easter, rightly so, Happy Easter! However, on this wondrous day, on this life and death and life again celebration, I pray to honor the three things Jesus asked usâ€”meâ€”to go forth and do. Yes, those Biblical requests have become formal, fancy liturgies. But all of us will break bread with another who hopes to be welcomed; all of us, wet or dry, seek community; and all of us are weary from the journey and need rest and care.
On one day, let us joyfully shout, Happy Easter! In every day, let us become a living response to Jesusâ€™ simple, soulful requests . . .