Religious Studies: Washing Feet and Being Meek

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As part of the Year 7 Religious Studies curriculum, the children have been looking at the story of 'The Woman and Simon the Pharisee'.

To understand the parable it is important to be aware of the ritual of washing feet as you entered a house – a ritual to do as much with cleanliness as with politeness – and what better way to learn than get hands-on?

In the story, Jesus is having lunch with a group of Pharisees when a prostitute comes in and starts to wash his feet with her tears. Shunned by the Pharisees, Jesus's forgiveness sends out a very different message to the religious establishment.

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Rubens' 'Feast of Simon The Pharisee'

The story also links to the moment in the Bible when Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, demonstrating his humility and servanthood, which is an important message for all of us to remember.

The children have examined the story in detail and have explored the ways in which we treat outcasts in society today (while also discussing who we consider 'outcasts' to be). They then went on to do some writing from the perspective of a servant, putting themselves into a position of humble lowliness.

Embodying these perspectives proved to be a real conversation-starter for Year 7 – and the exercise also meant that there were some Year 7s with cleaner feet than others!

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Hopefully all will now remember the story's main themes of forgiveness and redemption, but in a worst case scenario they have had a lesson in podiatric hygiene!

 

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