Thursday, January 08, 2009

Beautiful Feet for Epiphany

Epiphany seems like a good time to reflect upon beautiful feet. For how did the Magi hear of the one whose star they saw in the East? Someone came to them and told them long ago. Perhaps it was even the sweet little captive maid of Naaman’s wife whose witness is recorded in 2 Kings 5.

Through the prophet Isaiah the Lord declares:
Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
(Isaiah 52:6-7)

St. Paul quotes Isaiah, saying:
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:13-17)

It is curious, is it not, that only feet are mentioned and praised as beautiful?

There is a reason for this. The cause of the joy is not the messenger, but the message. The cause of joy that fills the ears and heart and mouth and eyes with beauty is the message of good tidings.

Thus, it is not the mouth or the head or any other part of the messenger that is beautiful, except for the feet by which the message was carried and delivered.

Feet are quite industrious and hardy. However, they don’t think for themselves. They simply serve, doing what the head tells them to do. They carry heavy burdens, often over difficult terrain. Up hills and down, through hot sand and cold snow, onward the feet carry the body so that the message can be delivered. The feet do not interpret the message. The feet do not even touch the message. They simply do the bidding of the messenger who is sent with the message.

How beautiful are the feet!

Even the little maid who had been taken captive from Israel to Syria so that she was the servant of Naaman’s wife, who lovingly desired for her master to know about the prophet of the Lord who could administer healing for Naaman’s leprosy, even as this little maid is beautiful, yet she is unnamed in the Scriptures. She is beautiful in heart and soul but she remains unnamed, for her beauty is not what matters. Only the message mattered, the message of what the Lord would do for Naaman.

Likewise neither the Magi nor those who spoke of Jesus to the Magi are named in the Gospel account. But the message is clearly proclaimed and reiterated throughout the generations so that it has gone forth into all the world and even to us.

How beautiful are the feet!

This is the Lord’s message. As Isaiah declares, it is the Lord who speaks it. He sends it forth through His quiet messengers. Their feet carry them here and there and wherever their feet carry them, they recite the good news that they themselves have heard. They do not interpret the message. They recite it as it has been told by the Lord.

The messengers come and go. They stay long enough to tell the message. Their names are known by the One who has written them in the Book of Life. Yet to those who receive the blessed glad tidings their names are often unknown. Yet thanks and praise sound forth to the One from whom the good news has been sent. The hymns and praises resound throughout the world and they shall continue even forevermore.

Praise be to God for His beautiful feet!

No comments: