My name is April McIntyre, and I am a Lay Minister working in a group of Anglican churches in England, U.K. I enjoy preaching and leading informal worship services, and I have particular interest in spirituality, music, and creative writing. My husband, Mike, has two grown children, and we have six grandchildren between the ages of 5 and 29. Unfortunately, in these months of COVID-19 lockdown, we have seen a lot less of the family. It was a great joy to meet up together recently for a barbecue.
In John 13, Jesus told his disciples that they should wash one another’s feet, just as he had washed theirs. This advice has been followed literally by Christians throughout the centuries, often taking place in special ceremonies where church leaders wash the feet of their congregations or bishops wash the feet of clergy. This can be both moving and humbling, yet I often wonder if it is really what Jesus wants us to do as 21st century Christians? How can we “wash feet” in a meaningful way today?
These questions were in the back of my mind as I struggled to help my husband put on his compression stockings after his knee operation a few years ago. Suddenly I saw the answer. This was our “foot-washing,” the giving and receiving of love in the everyday ups and downs of life. This became the subject of my reflection for The Upper Room, also reminding me that our marriage is like a rope of three strands with God weaving in and through every aspect of our life together.
My husband, Mike, recovered well from his knee replacement and had similar surgery on the other leg around a year later. This time we had an easier time with the awkward stockings after being given a larger size and developing a slick technique using a plastic bag over the foot to help the stocking slide more easily.
Mike is now back on his feet, walking at a normal pace, speeding through his exercise routine, driving, mowing lawns, and trimming the trees and hedges in our garden. We feel that God’s hand has been on Mike through this long process, gradually bringing complete healing and freedom from pain through the excellent work of the surgeon and health professionals. We are truly blessed and thankful.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”