Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chaos, Beauty, and Foot Washing

Tonight I did something a little risky.

We are in the midst of our Vacation Bible School program at Ridglea.
This church is a little smaller, a little rough around the edges, and honestly, just plain Holy.

Our VBS story was from Genesis 18:1-9. 'Abraham greets his guests with hospitality'.
[We leave out the next part of the story, when Abraham's nephew Lot's house guests get threatened by rape, so Lot throws his daughters under the bus and offers them up in exchange for the safety of the strangers... ]
anyway... I digress... back to the beautiful chaos.

So- I decided to do a foot washing service with the kiddos.

The kids were a little off the wall tonight. Three groups of kids, ages, 3-5, 6-7 and 8-10.

Of course the most rambunctious were the little ones. As they bounced around the room, crawled under the chairs and made 'toot' noises, I wondered if this had been a bad choice.

Just when I thought I should push the eject button and move on to plan B, they surprised me.

After rushing through the story (if you can hear me, clap once) I called the first child to the little chair and asked her to take off her shoes.

The children went silent.

[The older children expressed embarrassment over their dirty feet, and disgust at the thought of washing their friend's gross feet]

The little ones stepped right up, took off their shoes, and sat down.

I washed the first little one's feet, slowly pouring the cold water over her dust covered summer feet. As the water hit, her little toes curled, and her face lit right up.

I looked in her eyes and said "Mbote" (Langala for welcome- we are learning about the DR Congo). She then moved to the place of foot washer, as the next child moved into the chair and peeled off his shoes.

One by one each child sat in the chair and let the cool water move over their feet and through their toes.

One by one each child took the ceramic pitcher in their hand and nervously tipped it to spill the blessed water onto the feet of their new friend.

They looked at each other and said 'mbote'. Welcome.

Welcome, Holy Spirit. Welcome.


Perhaps they have already forgotten this experience.

Or, perhaps they sensed a small piece of the Spirit of God and heard a message of welcome. Welcome into the beauty and chaos of life lived in relationship with God and our community of dirty, dusty feet.

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