Another beautiful evening, and another meal under the stars in the courtyard. As the ekklesia gathers in her home, the woman greets them into the portico with a kiss. She then kneels to wash their feet in the bowl of the petal-strewn water she has prepared, washing away the dust of the day. She wipes them dry with the towel wrapped around her waist and sends them in to recline at table.
The merchant makes his way to the woman’s house with a spring in his step. It has been a particularly good day of trade in the marketplace, and a pleasant meal in good company awaits him. During the few moments when his stall was quiet today, his thoughts have gone to the remarkable story he heard the night before. He knows little of the history, culture or religion of Abraham, and always enjoys learning about the people he does business with in the metropolitan centers of trade he visits. But this group, these ‘Christians,’ are unlike any he has encountered before. And the Jesus they serve, well, his story is truly remarkable. And if it is true…
When he arrives at the woman’s house, he warmly greets his host and exchanges a kiss. But when she kneels at his feet and draws the bowl toward him, he steps back, shocked. “What are you doing?” he asks.
She smiles upon him. “Washing the weariness of the day from your feet, and refreshing you before dinner?”
“But that is work for your servants – not their mistress!” he exclaims.
“Permit me if you will, it is our way.”
He steps forward hesitantly, sits down on a stool and removes his sandals. As she pours water over his feet and gently washes them, he feels deeply uncomfortable. As she dries them with the towel, he asks, “Why are you doing this?”
“The answer to your question lies in the story I will tell you tonight. Please – take your place at the table, and I will join you when everyone has arrived.”
The merchant walks into the courtyard, and as he reclines and looks around at those gathered, he finds himself wondering again, Who are these people? And what compels them to live this way?
Sean Gladding, “The Story of God, the Story of Us: Getting Lost and Found in the Bible” 178 –179.
How do you invite others into the story of God?