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Dave Brisbin

When Down is Up

The reality we believe is the reality we endure.

We don’t see reality as it is. We see reality as we are. Our minds are a necessary tool for survival, but keyed to survival, they are fear-based, making our thoughts overwhelmingly negative as they literally create the world in which we live. As long as we’re thinking, we’re enduring a world we believe we must control to survive. We’ll need our minds as long as we’re drawing breath, but our mistake is to take them literally. To believe our thoughts are true is to live in the anxiety of our own personal hell.

Jesus is acutely aware of the grip our minds have over us, that our minds can’t tell the difference between the thoughts it generates and sensory input coming from the outside. Always trying to engineer breaks in our stream of thought to allow something really real to break in, he never answers a question except with another question, a story or parable. He knows an “answer,” received as part of the mind’s drive to control the fear of uncertainty, is the problem. The solution is to take our thoughts by surprise so we can step away, become free of their self-created, fear-based world.

Sometimes Jesus doesn’t use words at all. When he washes his followers’ feet, he is breaking into their fear-world in the most intense way possible. As his followers jockey for positions of power in Jesus’ kingdom as they think it will be, Jesus shows them, through the most humiliating and disgusting act of service in ancient Jewish culture, the meaning of true power. The highest position is the lowest, because only in service, in laying down our lives for another, is the reality of love ever expressed.

Jesus is a footwasher.

He says that he and the Father are one, which makes our Father a footwasher too. We have placed God high over our thought-worlds in positions of power and control. But if we really want to find our God, we have to look down, not up—not in the clouds, but in the standing height of a child, the kneeling height of a servant.

Can you honestly accept and respect a God who washes your feet? And if not, what will it take to break into your thought-world?


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