He washed their feet. Narrow and wide; male and female; shades of brown, black, and white—12 pairs of teenage feet, he washed. The head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, got on his knees, gently taking up a pair of feet to wash. Then he blessed the bearer of the feet.
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.
I will never forget this day, when I had the absolute honour of overseeing the hosting of Archbishop Welby when he spoke to the youth at Anglicans Ablaze. His talk was real, vulnerable, relatable, encouraging. He spoke about how God used Paul and Barnabas’ disagreement over the young man Mark, who had deserted them on a mission, for good, helping to spread the Good News and how Paul later “re-commissioned” Mark, requesting his help on another mission. The archbishop tied this to our lives today, reminding us how God can use for good the mistakes we have made. Archbishop Welby also talked about how modern-day society, even himself at times, suffers from the “imposter syndrome”—the fear of having people know who we truly are on the inside, warts, fears, jealousies, muck, insecurities, desires, and all. If people really knew us, they wouldn’t like us.
Then, at the end of his talk, the archbishop washed 12 pairs of feet, demonstrating Christ’s love for his church. There was not a dry eye in the room. You could feel God’s presence; it was the presence of love, nearly tangible, like a cloud. Archbishop Welby’s action was the act of love and a servant spirit. It was humility incarnate. I could sense God saying to us all, Go and do likewise.