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The Feet of Christ

by Jonathan Grace

Photo Credit: Ryan Klinck

My friend, Grant, was the first person on my caseload at CitySquare and a constant presence in the Bonhoeffer House (an MWF Epworth House). He would hang out most nights, would partake in our community meal on Thursday nights, and would often sleep on our porch. Grant was a veteran who lived on the streets for thirty years, sleeping on the concrete in drunken stupors and surviving day to day without a vision for the future.

One day I noticed his shoes were falling apart. We got him shoes and new socks, and I decided to wash his feet. I asked his permission, which he granted, so that evening we went to the Bonhoeffer House. I got two tubs of water, soap, towels, the new socks and shoes ready, and proceeded to wash his feet. They were so broken by life on the streets that I had to pry his toes apart due to all the fungus. His toenails were cracked so I grabbed some clippers and trimmed them down.

As I washed these broken and bleeding feet, the Holy Spirit took that opportunity to teach me a lesson. I have participated in many foot washing sessions over the years and will do many more, but at that moment, in that house, I realized that I would never wash feet as close to that of Christ's own. He walked in a desert. He too had broken, blistered, and bleeding feet. His, too, were battered by the world. In that moment I saw my homeless neighbor, Grant, as Christ. It remains one of the most profound encounters with the Divine in my life.

I am thankful for the Bonhoeffer House and the work and vision of Elaine Heath and Larry Duggins that made this encounter possible. Grant was eventually housed, and lived out his days with his own furniture, his own restroom, and his own dishes, and food from his own fridge. He passed away last November. He remains a part of me, part of the history and legacy of the Bonhoeffer House, and a part of God's story. Thanks be to God!