hmmm… interesting. I have a related story I’d love to tell you. Maundy Thursday evening 2007 I was in worship at the PCUSA where I’d become reasonably active. In many ways my life and ministry that truly had disintegrated was starting to reweave (it’s gone way downhill again, but that’s another narrative for later).
During that Lent I’d facilitated a 6-part course on theology of the cross I’d developed for the Sunday adult bible study group; the interim pastor and I had planned and celebrated eucharist at noon every day in Holy Week and I’d even provided the piano prelude music for that Maundy Thursday evening’s liturgy. In addition, I was excited because I knew that later on Pastor Scott would be praying a eucharistic prayer I’d written, but it was time for foot washing, a long-standing practice in that congregation; they encouraged everyone to participate. The quite a bit older person I was sitting beside asked if I was going to be washed and to wash others; I told her no, I had an embarrassing foot condition and needed minor foot surgery. Immediately she asked me, “but would you let Jesus wash your feet?!” hmmm… interesting! If he doesn’t wash us, we have no part in him…
…once AGAIN I’m in the midst of again wondering if and how I can continue doing life on my own…
However, the liturgical /lectionary semi-purist (only "semi" because in real life I have a fairly wide low-church streak and because more often than not these days I worship with a congregation that follows LBW liturgy, hymns, and lectionary rather than Revised Common Lectionary like most of the rest of the world) protests but right now we're in the midst of Ordinary Time, that green and growing and well-ordered liturgical season that parallels and replicates are own growth in the Spirit as individuals and as community. After all, Anne's blog and my comment both are anecdotes from Holy Week, before Good Friday, before Easter, before the Day of Pentecost that initiates a long, winding, greening, browning trek in the Spirit and in the flesh through orchards, valleys, cities, alleys, fields of gold, and dark places manifold.
During that aforementioned theology of the cross course I led during Holy Week 2007 and also the following summer at another church, for one of the classes we prayed together this beautiful observation from Paul Hammer:
love one anotherIf Jesus doesn't wash us…
Jesus, how common can you get? Foot washing, bread, wine!
If you're going to be religious, at least use something special.
No, my friend, I came not to perform special religious rites
But to touch the daily life of everyone
With God's love in the commonest of things.
O.K., water, bread, wine.
But isn't foot washing a bit ridiculous?
And what about "this is my body"?
And "this cup is the new covenant in my blood"?
Foot washing is the work of the commonest servant—I came to serve.
But it points beyond to the "washing" of the cross—
God's self-giving service in me to cleanse away estrangement
And heal the distortions in people's lives.
The bread points to nourishment in that same self-giving of God
At work in my body, that is in me.
And the cup points to the new community drawn together and nourished
In my blood, that is in God's total self-giving in my death.
Do you mean that this common stuff of water, bread and wine
Becomes in you the very focus of God's love for me and for the world?
That there is no excuse for my not loving my common neighbor?
Because you have shown the depth of God's love for me?
You've got it!
But it isn't a love for special occasions.
It has to be that daily love that's as common as water, bread and wine!
Originally I posted that on this blog here.
In Acts 6 we hear about the young, newly birthed church's first act of ordination. They did not ordain elders to govern and steward the church or ministers of word and sacrament to interpret scripture, preach and teach the gospel, to administer sacraments and ordinances in historical continuity. They first laid hands on and set apart deacons, that order of servants that historically has represented the church to the world in direct service, what a Facebook and blogger friend refers to as "basin and towel ministry." In baptism God re-creates and rebirths us into Jesus' image, the image and reality of the One who walked among us to show us the Servant God. 'nuff said?! Probably so!