If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.
— John 13:14-15
Peter — understandably — resists having Jesus wash his feet. And Jesus makes it perfectly simple for him: “Unless I wash you, you have no inheritance with me.”
And tonight, it’s that simple for us as well. Unless he washes us — unless we in turn wash one another’s feet, as we do tonight — we miss the message, and we have no part in him. So we will take up basin and towel, take off our shoes and strip off our socks (and hope, ridiculously, that our feet are already clean), and become one more link in an act of love, poured out in water on our feet and in the chalice at the altar, that stretches back to Jesus.
So we “should also do” — and in so doing may we, as Augustine prayed, become what we receive.