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BONUS BLOG: She Has Told Us What to Do

April 19, 2019

Hannah Adair Bonner is a colleague doing amazing ministry in Tucson with one of our college campus ministries called a Wesley Foundation. We’ve been online friends for quite some time, and we finally met face-to-face at General Conference 2019. It’s with her expressed gracious permission that I share with you her experience of last evening. Be blessed —

The students of Frontera Wesley hosted a modern version of the footwashing that Jesus offered to his disciples on the first Maundy Thursday.

Ester helped us explain to the women at The Inn that in honor of that moment during the Last Supper, when Jesus knelt to wash his disciples feet, we had prepared a foot spa for their weary feet. Their eyes lit up with recognition at the word spa, and they eagerly gathered to head to the location we had prepared.

One student prepared the Epsom salts to sooth and heal, while others heated water, prepared towels, and washed grapes. The one assigned to DJ pulled up relaxing music, as we explained, “música para relajarse.”

As the women settled into comfortable chairs, some holding babies or nursing, the students entered carrying pots of warm water to pour over their feet.

At first there was quiet, but gradually, as we left them to soak and relax, the women chatted and laughed like any group of old friends on a girls’ trip. They took grapes from the bowl that a student handed around, and broke off pieces of our remaining communion bread, commenting on its sweetness.

As they each gradually finished, they each indicated they were ready to return to the Inn. We removed their water, and I knelt to wrap a towel around their feet. We massaged lotion into their feet, and I told them it was clear they had walked many miles. “Sí,” they nodded with a thousand stories behind their eyes. Then they would stand up, and another woman would appear to take their place.

Now that they had grown comfortable and relaxed, I felt hands upon my head as I knelt before them to anoint their feet with coconut oil. They stroked my hair, in curiosity and endearing familiarity, and I told them it was the same hair as on two of my sisters’ heads, “Yessica y Susanna.” I thought of Mary Magdalene, drying Jesus feet with her hair, and I received the hands upon my head as a blessing.

As each one left, they hugged me, some holding on for a long time before finally releasing. How very simple it was for us to create a space of honoring and pampering, for those who had journeyed so far, but what a difference it made to them.

We never would have thought to do it, however, if Jesus had not told us to do so. He understood, because he walked the desert too. He fled for his life too. He faced death, danger and oppression too. God told us what to do, because she has walked in the sandals of these women too. We cannot understand, we cannot empathize, but she can; and she told us what to do.

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” — Mark 13:12-17

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