One of the things our church does each year during Holy Week is to wash feet the way Jesus washed the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. The pastor and the elders wait at the altar with towels and tubs of water for anyone who wants to come forward. Feet can be stinky and are quite honestly not the prettiest part of our body. We can know someone for years and never see their feet. This ceremony can make you feel rather exposed, like being undressed. Perhaps you have participated in this ceremony as a washer or wash-ee. It’s a very humbling event.
But this year, I see the foot washing in a new light. In a dusty area of the world like Israel, it was common amongst nomadic people to wash someone’s feet when they entered a house or tent. It would have been rude and inhospitable to track in all the dust and the dirt and not leave it at the door. That is why many civilizations leave their shoes at the front stoop.
Our door mats serve a similar purpose today. Untold numbers of mothers throughout the centuries have yelled out to their family, “Remember to wipe your feet!” Clean floors make clean homes.
To be a door mat is a derogatory term, isn’t it? It means you are allowing people to walk all over you. But, Christ in His humility, died to become our door mat. He takes on our sins and leaves us cleansed. He lets us leave the dirt of the world on Him so we can come before the Throne of Grace without tracking any of it in with us. We can’t receive God’s blessings unless we are willing to leave all that gunk behind – the stuff we have been carrying in a cloud around us like Pig Pen in the Snoopy comics.
When we enter into God’s holy presence, we must be cleansed of our sins. We must leave the dirt and dust of the world behind on the stoop. It does no good to try and carry it in with us. Christ’s sacrificial act of washing his disciples’ feet was an act of servitude, but it was also preparing them for the Kingdom of God, a kingdom His Body and Blood would open for them . . . and you, and me.
As the old hymn says, “What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” Thank you Lord, for being our door mat. Each time I come in prayer, let me remember to wipe my feet and lay it all on You to handle.