Each week: 1 of the 6 chapters will be featured alongside one of the engaging and very unique chapter elements.
This week we'll take a peek at Chapter 2 - Holy Thursday; along with one of my favorite sections of the Walk in Her Sandals original format: Enter the Scripture.
Featuring: Holy Thursday and Enter The Scripture
Pedicure. That was my first thought when asked by our then pastor to participate in the Church's 'Foot Washing' portion of the Holy Thursday Mass.
Fr. Michael was calling to invite us to participate based on our service to the church that year. Although a Catholic my entire life - at 30-something this was to be my first Holy Thursday Liturgy - never mind being included in this foot washing thing. The 3 days leading into Easter Sunday - referred to as the Triduum - had never been a part of my family’s Easter prep growing up. Does the priest really wash our feet? Father mentioned something about inviting twelve parishioners to represent the twelve Apostles. Seemed harmless enough - and an opportunity for this proud mama to show off here adorable sons. So,I agreed; it really was no surprise my first thought was … pedicure.
My ignorance was truly bliss, because when I finally got seated facing the large congregation, and kicked off my flip flop (I certainly didn’t want my foot to get sweaty or stinky in a shoe), my honor of being asked turned to anxiety. At this point in my life - Mass attendance was quite honestly all about me and appearances. My hope for perfect attendance in St. Peter's 'entrance into heaven' book; my warped idea of a safety net in case all this hell stuff was real.
At that moment, I was not attuned to the powerful significance of reenacting Jesus’ humble act of bending down to wash the Apostles feet. His profound message of do as I do, so must you go forth and do to others, meant nothing. I beamed with pride at my cute little family, perfectly attired and my toes perfectly painted. Hoping all those eyes on us saw that polished picture I was trying to project. Sadly, that was all I took away from that experience.
Fast-forward just five years and everything about my faith life has changed.
My life had been completely transformed by a simple invitation to bible study. In those nights studying God’s word, I discovered a God that loved me so much that He would send HIS only son to die for my sins so that I may be redeemed and have an opportunity at eternal life. I encountered and befriended a Jesus, that was not distant or part of my superficial reasons for attending Mass (socialization and a stay-out –of-hell free card) , but my Savior. I fell in love with Jesus, His teachings and all of the beauty the Catholic faith had to offer. Then came our familys second invitation for my family to participate in the Holy Thursday Liturgy; my now pre-teen sons declined but my husband and I accepted.
My chair was placed at the very end of the row, next to a young woman confined to a wheel chair. Anna was at Mass every week with her father - a remarkable dedicated single dad. At the age of 12, Anna smiled, cooed and clapped all throughout the Mass. Her delight at the privilege of coming to the table of the Lord never failed to draw my attention to that same privilege allotted me. As Father moved down the line towards us, Anna’s squeals grew in intensity. That was Jesus coming to meet her; coming to meet us. I slipped off my shoe, and then sock exposing my “desperately in need of a pedicure” toes - our saving money for the adoption of our daughter from China did not leave room for one in our budget.
My heart, now in tuned to the magnitude of this moment, overflowed with gratitude to my Heavenly Father and the tears welled and flowed. My head lowered, partly to shield the tears from those witnessing and partly to keep the moment from slipping away too fast. I, like Peter at the moment of the Transfiguration, wanted to remain here on that mountaintop with my Lord forever.
Each Holy Thursday and Good Friday, we are presented the most amazing gift to transport ourselves back to those nights when the world was changed forever. When the Word become flesh, dwelling among us, offered himself for the expatiation of our sins.
THIS is how I felt reading Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ's Passion Through the Eyes of Women! I was transported back in time and place; and did not want to leave the pages as to hold this feeling in my heart even longer.
Enter the Scripture
Sarah Christmyer takes the reader into scripture like no other author I have encountered in my 10+ years of scripture study. The 'Ah-HA' moments ABOUND ... the nuances of the scripture often lost on more seasoned church goers - illuminate in the hands of Sarah. Enter the Scripture provides the reader with context and content to experience each special day of this Holy Week and Easter Season armed with insight that will leave you sometimes pausing breathless and other times hungrily reading on.
A small but favorite example from chapter 2 - Holy Thursday:
"Everything done and said at a Seder was prescribed, and everyone knew the ritual. As Jesus said the blessing over the bread at the main course, imagine the astonishment of the Twelve as he added, "This is my body which is given for you" (Lk 22:19). ~ Walk in Her Sandals, pg. 33.
Let's circle back to my Holy Thursday foot-washing story - and contemplate it in this scriptural light:
"During supper Jesus rose and 'laid aside his garments.' He clad himself in a towel, poured water, and washed the disciples' feet. Washing feet was the job of a household slave, not a rabbi. This was major statement. Jesus inserted it into the Passover to make a point. His greatness is born out of humility and self-giving. His kingship is born of self-offering. The way he lays down his garments and takes them up again (see John 13:4, 12) foreshadow the way he will willingly lay down his life- and take it up again." ~ Ibid, pg. 35 and...I KNOW RIGHT! WHOA!!
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Image and Quotes Rights Reserved, Women in the New Evangelization & Ave Maria Press