Early draft, second or third go-round.

Maundy Thursday

So I visited St John's Episcopal Church

on the evening of Maundy Thursday
because I would have been late
for my own church's liturgy.

Laggard at laundry,
I had been wearing the same pair of socks
for two days straight.
So I was horrified
when midway through the service,
Rev. Deborah instructed us all
to remove our shoes and socks

for the congregational footwashing.


Of course, I had known

that there would be a footwashing,

but didn't dream that it'd involve

everybody in church!

We were instructed to go

one by one up to the sanctuary,
moving front to back through the pews.

I was in the fifth row from the front
so I had time to absorb and process.

It was a kind of relay. One person

received a footwashing

from a fellow churchperson,

and then the washee knelt

to become the washer

of whoever was next in line.


There were glass pitchers of water

arrayed within easy reach of a chair,

and bronze bowls, and many white towels

of a substance at once both cottony and papery.

The fellow in the pew in front of mine

went up right before me.
Tall and hefty, brown-eyed, tan-skinned.
Do you ever name total strangers?
I named him Ruben.

After his feet had been washed,

he knelt before the vacant chair in the sanctuary
waiting for the next person, me, to come up.
I was barefoot as I walked up
the red centre-aisle-carpet.

Sad-eyed Ruben poured water over my feet
and worked it into my skin with his thumbs.
A strange friendliness,

an unfamiliar fleeting intimacy.
As when someone you don't know
gives you a big hug
on a day of national crisis or celebration.
You go with it. You receive it

with gratitude and kindness.

Then after my feet had been washed,
it was my turn to kneel in front of the chair.

A slender woman,
blonde, petite, approaching sixty
(I later found out her name was Chloe),
with toenails redly pedicured,
sat before me to receive an ablution.

I performed the rite with a euphoric heart!
There was no troublous emotion,
no foot-fetish stuff coming up to the surface,
and certainly no aversion.


Beauty in the moment.
God-in-the-room humility and joy.

Poetry by Uncle Meridian The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 54 times
Written on 2022-07-01 at 08:26

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Griffonner The PoetBay support member heart!

Alan J Ripley The PoetBay support member heart!
Sounds like heaven on earth to me.