Saturday, February 14, 2015

Funny feet

I was reading the account about Jesus washing the feet of his friends which is found in John 13. I read it a bit differently this morning after thinking about what Joan Chittister says about humor in her book of reflections on Ecclesiastes. The Last Supper is a very serious event in scripture and our re - celebrations of it are the most somber parts of our worship services. Laughter would seem to be out of place. Chittister reminds us of the place of laughter in the Bible (remember Sarah's belly laugh at a serious word from God!) and suggests that several of the stories Jesus told would not have been heard without cracking a smile ( the woman who badgered the judge til she got what she wanted). So, I was thinking about this as I read John's report about the Last Supper. If humor is often based on the unexpected happening, how unexpected was this scene! Jesus, the master, taking the place of a servant and shedding his cloak to get to work on his disciples dirty feet. Feet are funny, at least my wife thinks mine are. Can  you see Jesus making a wise crack about Peter's toe fungus? Humor gets to the point; no one expected Jesus to do what he did. He turned the ceremony upside down. Did he have fun with it? Is it ok to have fun, serving others? Isn't laughing with some one a way of serving them? The biggest laugh was on the disciples because Jesus told them that now they would do for each other what he had done for them. None of them had ever thought of washing Peter's feet or any of the others, had they? That would have seemed foolish before Jesus did it for them! Now, the joke was on them. And once they got the joke - "now that you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" - it went a long way toward shaping their community to be like Christ.