Summary: Fifth Sermon in the 2009 Lenten Series, ‘The Body of Christ.’
This morning we begin with a visit from Dr. Seuss. (Read ‘The Foot Book’ by Dr. Seuss.)
What would we do without our feet? What could we do without our feet?
Last week we spent a few moments considering how wonderful our hands are and that they help us to feed, clothe, and care for others and ourselves as well.
But what about our feet? If we have foot problems, walking is very difficult.
Last year I did battle with planters fasciitis. It is an inflammation of the plantar fascia on the bottom of our feet. It is the ligament that forms the arch of our foot. Finally, I found a very simple solution to get rid of it – ice – after going to the doctor and trying several different things.
Our feet support the weight of our entire body. They help us get to work, to school, to the grocery store. Without them, we are immobilized.
Just as our hands are amazing, so are our feet. According the website, podiatrychannel.com, there are three major sections to our feet.
(Slide 2) There is the forefoot, the midfoot, and the hindfoot.
The forefoot, says the site, “is composed of the five toes (called phalanges) and their connecting long bones (metatarsals).” The midfoot has “five irregularly shaped tarsal bones, forms the foot’s arch, and serves as a shock absorber.” And finally, there is the hindfoot, “composed of three joints and links the midfoot to the ankle (talus).”
The site also says that 20 muscles “give the foot its shape by holding the bones in position and expanding and contracting to impart movement.” And what caught my attention is that the foot has 26 bones in it which is about 25% of all the bones in our body.
As I read all of this, I realized that many people do not walk to church anymore. And I also realized in a new way how much the automobile has changed our patterns of living… and walking. I also thought about the fact that our society has a weight problem in part, because less people walk and spend more time sitting in front of the computer, TV, or video screen.
In Jesus’ day that was not so. Many people walked. Yes, there were donkeys and horses, but people walked and were thus limited in their travels.
Which got me to thinking about how far Jesus travelled while here on earth. Have you ever wondered how far Jesus traveled? I decided to ask that question at a website called, ask.com, and according to the website iluvwalking.com, it is estimated to be around 21,525 miles. But, of that 21,525 miles, only 3,125 of them He walked during His earthly ministry which is 14.5%. (I wonder if Jesus’ feet hurt some days.)
People walked in those days and they walked in open country and in the small streets and alleys of towns and cities. They walked behind animals and in streets that had no sewer systems… You get the picture, right?
Podiatric hygiene was a challenge in those days. Along with the biological hazards in walking, you add the custom (still common today among Middle Eastern cultures) of eating not in a chair at a table, but reclined on the floor next to a low table. Together they make for a challenging eating environment.
Enter, foot washing!
It was more than a quaint custom it was a hygienic necessity! It was given to a lowly servant to do not the man or woman of the house and especially not a teacher or rabbi!
One’s feet were therefore given extra care and attention because clean feet were important!
This brings me to our main text this morning, Luke 7:36-50.
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. 37 A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who was the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
40Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.”
“All right, Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.”
41Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”