The first night before bed I washed my feet. I thought I was thorough but in the morning the sheets were marked with dust. So the next night I washed them again and placed a wet towel beside the bed to give them one last wipe before hitting the hay.
Next morning, again, dust all over the sheets.
As the week wore on, I learned that there are little places behind and between my toes that tended to collect particles and hold onto them, only to release the dust all over my sheets when I wasn't watching. I had to be thorough and conscientious to get at these spots before bed. Consequently, I got pretty good at foot washing - so much so that my sheets were progressively cleaner every morning.
When Moses was directed by God to build the tabernacle in the desert wilderness, he was instructed to set up a laver - a basin, bowl, or cistern - to wash in before entering in. I assume that this was to prevent them from tracking the desert dust into their worship space. Desert dust might take the form of complaint, doubt, fear, discomfort, impatience, frustration, annoyance, pickiness, discouragement, and so on. These clingy mortal thoughts would rob the day of its normal joy and would leave a nasty mark on everything if we don't wash them out.
Here is a short list of some of the ways one might get at the mortal thoughts that we don't want to track into the day:
Start off with a good dose of Bible study. Read it regularly. Let the Word feed you with holy thoughts. Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science Founder, insisted that her students make, every day, a prayerful study of the Bible, and obtain the spiritual understanding of its promises. (See First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, 48)
Here are three good examples of what regular, daily Bible study promises to do for you:
- Romans 12:2 ESV "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
- Isaiah 26:3 ESV "You [God] keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
- Philippians 4:8 ESV "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Everything that is real and true and permanent in you originates in Love. The rest? It's desert dust. Let Love's view of you wash you clean, - detach from you any self-conscious sense of evil. The Christ is Love's message of good for you, bathing you in His goodness, and revealing what you are really made of. You are good. Trust these Christ-messages. They won't mislead you. You have nothing to fear in opening yourself to the Christ in prayer.
Mary Baker Eddy's "Daily Prayer" is a good one for getting rid of the sneaky, hidden grit in thought. Praying it with daily regularity leads to a richer experience of your real dust-free self, and your real dust-free world:
In Article VIII, Section 4, of the Manual of The Mother Church Mrs. Eddy says, "It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!"
That is an invitation (actually a daily duty) to wash your feet - your mind and your life - of anything that would obscure your spirituality and the healing power that comes with it, before stepping into the holy tabernacle of your day.
Would a good thorough foot washing make a difference to your day? How do you do it? And how has your pure and clean thought prepared you to help others?
Stay tuned. The next post will look at foot washing from another angle.