Year 7 Get Hands On with Religious Studies

13th August 2018

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Things took a rather unique turn for some children in Year 7 this week. In a bid to put some real context to the Bible parable ‘The Woman and Simon the Pharisee’, which is one of the main texts studies in class, the children got their hands dirty by washing each other’s feet.

It was felt that to understand the parable fully, it was crucial to become familiar with the old ritual of washing feet as you entered a house, a ritual which was as much to do with cleanliness as with politeness. In the popular parable, Jesus is taking lunch with a group of Pharisees when a prostitute enters and begins to wash his feet with her tears. Whilst the woman is shunned by the Pharisees, Jesus’s mercy and forgiveness sends out a very different message.

The connotation of washing feet is also reminiscent of the moment in the Bible when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, demonstrating his humility and servitude, which is another important message for us all to take.

The ultimate goal of the exercise was to afford the children the opportunity to explore ways in which we treat outcasts in society and, indeed, who exactly we consider ‘outcasts’ to be. The lesson finished with the children carrying out some writing from the perspective of a servant, allowing them to fully consider what a position of humble lowliness would feel like.

A bonus of the exercise was that some of the Year 7 pupils left with some very clean feet!