Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent: Year 1
Morning, Psalm 119:49 to 72; Evening, Psalm 49;
Isaiah 9:8 to 17; 2nd Peter 2:1 to 10a; Mark 1:1 to 8
“He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1: 7 and 8)
Just so you know, touching anything on, or about another’s feet, two thousand years ago in Palestine, was considered among the most disgusting things one person can do, to or for another, in the time that Jesus walked the earth.
When I went to Saudi Arabia for the Liberation of Kuwait, in 1991, we were taught that even sitting with our legs crossed such that people could see the bottom of our boot, was offensive. I have also seen video where an angry Arab man threw his sandal at then President Bush (43). The President ducted and it missed him. The point is, that the footware, while not very lethal, carried with it a humiliation beyond its ability to inflict physical harm. It was, and to a certain degree, still is, some Mid-eastern people are loath to do.
Personally, I will often drop down and tie the shoes of a child or an elderly person whenever I notice the need. However, I would struggle to attend to the personal need of a sick person who had an incontinent issue, or threw up on themselves. Such cases make me sick. I am so thankful for nurses and first responders who do provide this care. Would I do this care for our Lord Jesus? Would you? I pray that I would.
Here is the deal. Our Lord Jesus comes to us through the people in our lives. He or she is standing among us every day. As Christians we are taught that when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit the sick or incarcerated, we do such holy work to, and for, our Lord Jesus. (Matthew 25:31 to 46)
It goes without saying then, that when we care for our brothers and sisters beyond our personal comfort zone we are living out the shepherd life we are intended to live. We are called to do some things we don’t think we are worthy to do, or able to do. But we must press on with God’s help. With God, we can go beyond our perceived limitations. For with God, all things are possible and my beloved of the Lord, you are so worthy.
Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Iran and China.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John