I am simply in awe of this program and the people who make it possible:
The custom of washing another’s feet was embedded in the cultures of ancient civilizations as an act of hospitality and necessary cleanliness. For obvious reasons, the health of one’s feet can judge the wellbeing of the body.
For those who live outside, disease and fungus are a constant threat in the Northwest winter. Calluses erupt from always walking and wearing shoes. Sores develop and nails may become ingrown.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper, as an act of humility and gesture of service. Every Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., volunteers emulate this act by caring for the feet of those in need in the basement of Portland’s Downtown Chapel.
Pink towels form a pathway between two rows of facing chairs where the soaking takes place and three nurses’ stations where the real work happens. The room smells fresh and clean, everyone seems happy, relaxed.
“Washing a person’s feet puts you truly below them, it is an act of kindness with much human symbolism,” says Andrew Noethe, pastoral associate at Downtown Chapel. “Your perspective of a person changes.”
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