I don’t read The Christian Century cover to cover every time, but almost every issue I find something that strikes me. This issue, it was this short story about a woman who offered a very simple, very profound way of showing her love and care for another woman who was about to go through a very public, very ugly, very shaming betrayal. It’s hard for me to even envision it, but what she did was take towels and a basin over to the woman’s house and she washed her feet. Here’s the quote that got me:
“In the midst of the painful exposure, Margaret would sort out what she was going to do about her marriage, without the benefit of privacy. While hearing more details than she could bear, Margaret would have to evaluate everything in her life–her friends, the lies, her reputation, her dignity, her children, and her finances. In the midst of all of this, Mom wanted Margaret to know one thing: she would be cherished, even to the ends of her toes.”
That is the best kind of ministry, the most profound kind of care–the love that reaches all the way down, even to our toes. Washing another’s feet is one concrete way to show that kind of love, but there are others, too. Any time we love another radically, almost ridiculously–beyond the bounds, beyond the pale–with depth, breadth, and without conditions and without excuses, we are practicing “toe-love” [I just came up with that myself!]. It seems to me to be a great way to embody the radical love Jesus was always showing in his ministry, especially with those who needed it the most.