Last night, as mentioned previously, I preached a Maundy Thursday sermon and led worship at Lutheran Church of the Master in Carol Stream. I preached, for the first time in my life, in my bare feet. Why? Because the two of us who officiated the service were barefoot so we could join in the act of foot washing that preceded coming to the table. Footwashing49917
The table was also set for twelve places and when each spot was filled we then took as I led the people at the table. The evening ended with the stripping of the table and the altar and all from the front of the sanctuary except for the lone candle which represents Christ’s light in the dark world. It was a moving and powerful evening.

Where I grew up the only foot-washers I knew were some odd, not like us, Baptists. We even called them "foot-washin’ Baptists" as a derogatory term. Well, last night I was a "foot-washin’ Lutheran" I suppose.

The washing of one another’s feet is an ancient Christian practice. Clearly our Lord meant it to represent to us our service to one another as we read in John 13: 1-17. But this does not mean that we cannot ceremonially perform the rite in order to remind ourselves that this is what he gave to us as his followers. I do not think foot-washing is a sacrament but I have found it to be a rich and beneficial practice.

It was a memorable evening and the darkness of the room, as we quietly left to go out into the night, reminded me of the events that we now remember on this day, Good Friday. May your life be flooded with the full measure of God’s grace during this Holy Week.

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  1. Gene Redlin March 21, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Our service last night was so full it would have been hard to wash everyone’s feet.
    What a wonderful problem to have in a Lutheran Church.
    We did this once at New Life.
    It was precious.

  2. Rich March 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    John, just officiated and experienced my first foot-washing service at Immanuel. During our Maundy Thursday service, we covered the Lord’s Mandate, the foot-washing, the Lord’s Supper, a Tenebrae service of shadows consisting of readings highlighting the darkness Jesus was entering, and then, afterwards, the stripping of the altar. It was a very meaningful and moving night! Thanks for sharing your reflections!

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