Wednesday, March 28, 2007

FOOTWASHING...Is It Some Kind of a Joke?

This Sunday is April 1st. It’s not often that April Fool’s Day falls on a Sunday. And it almost seems ironic that this Sunday is also the next opportunity for us as a church to participate in the worship of communion. Here at Grace Church, our celebration of communion is more than just the taking of the bread and the cup. We also have a love feast. This Sunday our love feast will include a full-carry in dinner. But our communion service also involves footwashing. Even though it will be April 1st, this is not some kind of a joke. We really do wash feet

Why do we wash feet as part of our communion here at Grace Church? In yesterday’s blog we started using an acrostic for the word “T-O-D-A-Y” to show us five reasons why footwashing is still for today. We began in yesterday’s blog by explaining that the letter “T” stood for “Teaches the need for spiritual cleansing.

The letter “O” stands for “Obedience to the expectations of Christ.” In verse 14, Jesus says that He washed the disciples’ feet and we “ought” to do the same. This word “ought” is the strongest word that can be used without giving a direct command. It definitely speaks of an expected obligation. It is written in the present tense showing a need for continual action. Christ expected us to continue this practice. How do we know this? Because this is not just something seen in the Gospel of John. It is also repeated in the Epistles. According to First Timothy 5:10, washing the Saint’s feet was part of the requirements for the church supporting a widow. Jesus expected the act to continue and the early church did just that.

The letter “D” stands for “Displays the example of Christ.” In verse 15, Jesus says that by washing the feet of His followers, He was giving us an example that we should do. Once again, this is written in the present tense and describes a continual action.

The letter “A” stands for “Attitude of humility.” There is no question that though servanthood is not the main part of footwashing, it is definitely involved. In verse 16, Jesus tells us that a master is not greater than the servant. Jesus showed this in washing the disciples’ feet.

Finally, the letter “Y” stands for “Yields Spiritual Blessing.” In verse 17, Jesus says that it is great if we know these things, but we are blessed if we do them. I grew up and spent the first 22 years of my life in churches in which communion took place the first Sunday of every month and included only the bread and the cup. This was fine and good. But for the past 20 years I have experienced the threefold communion including the bread and the cup, the love feast and footwashing. I can honestly tell you that I have experienced a blessing the past 20 years through participating in footwashing that is wonderful and beautiful. My Grandpa experienced this same thing. A couple years ago I wrote a blog entry telling the personal story about my Grandpa Distler and his first experience with a threefold communion service. In tomorrow’s blog I will re-post this special family story.

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