Jesus in the church (Glenstal 2022)

In the Abbey Church the hour before noonday Mass,

in the quiet a woman kneels, with a bucket of water and a cloth

washing the kneelers of each and all the pews.

She bends and wipes, sits sometimes and sighs, sometimes kneels in silence. and then continues to bend again.

(I think never have I seen prayer as committed and deep)

I see Jesus kneeling before his disciples at the last supper

washing the feet of each and all.

Here now Jesus looks like the majority of humanity as she cleans

with love,

and here the feet of the disciples are invisible,

but still as always soiled and in need of washing.

I move across the aisle from the benches she is apporaching now,

meaning to get out of the way, but settling on the far side I think, ‘Have I just played the role of the resisting Peter?

Lord, you will never wash my feet?’

A couple joined in a lifetime of marriage enter now and pause at a painting; the husband reads to his wife in his deep resonant old voice that here is ‘John 4, Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well’

And the image of the moment shifts,

here is the woman with the pail, as the woman at the well carried her pail and met there Jesus who told her the story of her life

and she was changed, but even more confirmed

in becoming her true self.

Comes the Mass and at the Gospel these words (of all!) begin, ‘When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them . . . ‘

Perhaps I see or hear too much, more than is there, but whatever you doubt, believe this:

the work of God goes on, in all ways and in all places.

Glenstal Abbey Church

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