Thursday, March 20, 2008

Foot washing

In response to another blog (Matt again), I'm posting a report.

My first entry in this blog was about last year's Maundy Thursday. You might enjoy watching the neat video on foot washing I posted there from Youtube.

It took me a whole year, but I finally got the gumption to go to a foot washing at the Community of Joy Worship Center (Church of the Brethren). I was also more familiar with the place and its people. It was called a "love feast" and also included conversation, a meal, singing, communion, and clean up. It was wonderful.

Before I went I was mentally prepared by a slide show.

As I went outside my front door, I saw that nobody had taken yesterday's trash cans back from the street. I had to move one, because I had brought down trash. Then it occurred to me that since I was going to a foot washing I needed to have a servant attitude, so I moved the second one as well.

I arrived a little early so I was offered a seat and another woman came up and introduced herself. It turns out that it was her first love feast as well. She had joined the church this past January.

I sat at a round table with two older couples and one younger, who appeared to have been married a long time. My favorite sort of supper company. It turns out that most of us were present or past school teachers. The older couples were inlaws who told me a corny family joke about their mother having had four and a half dozen children. It took me more than a minute to get it. Ten children - four boys and a half dozen girls - get it?

A trio (including the new lady) sang.
The pastor led us in prayer.
The congregation sang a mixture of contemporary and old standard hymns using powerpoint displays on the wall.
Then we had a simple meal of water, fruit, cheese, nuts, rolls. We enjoyed conversation.
The pastor invited us to answer the question "who first helped you to see Jesus?"
Scripture was read. (I probably have the order of things mixed up)
More prayer.
We discussed another question.
Then we went over to rows of facing chairs, men on the left, women on the right. There was also a station for hand washing for people who were physically or otherwise uncomfortable with foot washing.
The towel was worn as an apron.
We sang from hymnals.
Two women each had tubs of water and washed the feet of the person next to them. After her feet were washed, she embraced the washer, exchanged blessings and then took the towel and put it on and washed the feet of the next person. I wasn't able to kneel on my fake knees, but I squatted down and the person I was serving raised her feet a little.
Music was led as the footwashing was going on and by the last song we'd developed some three part harmony that gave me goosebumps.
A very modern American touch: a woman gave us a squirt of waterless antibiotic handwashing liquid when we were done.
Then the pastor read from Luke 24 about how Christ was only recognized after he broke the bread at a meal.
We responded in a short litany and then had communion. The pastor led us in simple language. The wine was grapejuice and the bread was a cracker which I'm told is an "old traditional brethren unleavened bread (symbolic of the mana God provided)" which we broke with another person and shared. To me, it tasted a little like shortbread.
There was some more singing and short discussion about how we might plan to help others see Jesus. Then we got together and cleaned up the tables.
By the way, the dishes were washable! I really like this church.


MissDaisyAnne said...

Thank you, foot washing is certainly not something that is really talked about, as well as anointing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this.

Christopher said...

Happy to hear that you found a church that is to your liking. :)