The Towel


Still wet, grimy from eleven pairs of feet,
a towel hangs in a corner alongside a wash basin.
As usual.

Tonight, though, is different.
The towel was not hung there by the servant girl,
but by the one they call Master, Teacher.
The Master doing a servant's work for his followers?
That's all wrong.
Somehow, though, he makes it right.

For a few moments
eleven pairs of eyes fix thoughtfully on the towel and basin.
But tonight of all nights there are more pressing matters.

Wait!  Is he saying wash one another's feet?
What if this little band takes him seriously?
What if they actually imitate their self-appointed foot-washer?

Tomorrow, of course, morning-after realism
will unmask the thought for the nonsense it is.

But tonight, in the glow of the moment,
imagination rules.

Could a servant's towel be the rumpled banner of a new way?
Not likely, people being what they are.
But maybe.  Just maybe.


Doug McGlashan, "The Towel," written for World Vision magazine