This morning I was reading the weekly meditation in the the Mosaic Bible. It is written MSA Board member Penny Carothers reflecting on her time in Calcutta. I was profoundly impacted as I read about how some of the poor children on the Calcutta streets washed her feet and that of her friend after they had been knocked down by a mob as they tried to distribute toys to some of the street kids
Asa and Jebodah entered the filth to take our hands. They pulled us away and took us, dazed, to the water pump. And then they bent down and began to wash the grime off our feet.”
As I read this I thought – this is Jesus. This is the one who stooped to wash the disciples feet wearing nothing more than a lowly servant would. This is the one who comes to us in the midst of our pain and the misery of our world to offer us comfort and love. He comes as a servant, in fact he comes as the lowliest and most despised of all servants – the one who washes feet.
Many of these children, as Penny noted are the children of prostitutes. They are despised within their own society as well as in ours. So it is easy for us to dismiss them. But the poor are with us always and everywhere. The poor wash our feet in so many ways and have made it possible for us to live lives of comfort and ease. It is the poor who pick our fruit and make our clothes. They provide us with furniture and with cheap building materials.
This morning on NPR I heard that the poverty rate in the US has jumped to 14.3%. The new Census report shows there were 43.6 million people living in poverty in 2009 – the highest number since records were kept (though not the highest percentage). Not surprisingly poverty levels are worse in the south and amongst non whites. These people too are our distant neighbours who we often depend upon to wash our feet – they work for low wages sometimes below minimum wage in order to make ends meet and many of us, sometimes unconsciously are dependent on the for our comfortable lifestyles.
What difference would it make if we saw Jesus in the faces and lives of these poor people who wash our feet? What do you think.