Christ Is Risen: Reflections on washing feet...

edited April 2011 in Faith Issues
Christ is Risen!

I am not sure if this will be locked, but I'm ok either way, I wanted to wish you all a happy easter and send some thoughts I wrote on my blog, regarding holy thursday and the washing of the feet, aka the Laqqan prayers:
"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

I attended the Holy Thursday prayers at my church this morning and afternoon. It was a great time for reflection on the Lenten journey we have all gone through. Battling the inevitable hunger pains, we arrived at the "Laqqan" or blessing of the waters, where the water is blessed and prayed on, and then the priest symbollically washes the feet of the congregation by wetting a towel and putting the sign of the cross on the front of their lower legs. This of course comes from the gospel, where before the Passover, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, leaving some offended at the notion of a great teacher humbling himself to such a menial task, but does so as an example of what it means to be a true servant, and how we are to treat each other. For some reason, I had this thought in my head: I wonder what it would be like if we as a congregation actually washed each others feet. That it wasn't the task of the priest to put a wet towel to our legs, but that we could actually wash the feet of our neighbors in the pews.

I could imagine the discomfort. Many people hide their feet, it is a very sensitive part of the body. Allowing someone to wash your feet is in a way letting them see a not so clean part of you. For some they would rather have their feet covered, rather than show the world what they look at. Others are self conscious, while, for the most part, unless you've spent a lot of time and money in pedicures and such, most likely, you would not be quick to put your bare feet in the hands of another person in church, let alone let them wash them. On the flip side, how many of us would want to take the bare foot of a congregation member into our hands? I wonder what kind of congregation we would be if we were the type of congregation that could wash each other's feet.

It's not about washing feet, though, but its exposing ourselves. It's allowing someone else to clean us, to acknowledge our shortcomings, and to take the dirt and wash it away. I'm sure we can have no problem doing this with strangers, but what about with people we know well, who maybe have hurt us or fallen short of what we wanted. Or maybe for some of us, we don't want to be seen. We don't want our dirt and our filth exposed to our neighbor, even in the church, even if he or she has dirt of their own. It's being in a very vulnerable position, and putting ourselves in the hands of our neighbor.


These were some thoughts that affected me today. I hope after Lent, we can continue the dialogues out there on the net, in a better Spirit where we can follow that example given to us.
[Moderated to remove link to blog]

Have a safe and happy resurrection feast.  Go easy on the meat, no point in breaking fast with laziness and indigestion.  :)  Pray for me

- M -


  • Let's wait at least a week before we start having material about homosexuality posted please.

    Your reflection was fine as it was without these additions.
  • I'll make sure to post things after you go to bed in the UK :)

    Totally joking.  However you edited out the best part of the post, rather the point of the whole thing.  Washing each other's feet and we need to do the same.  Maybe in a week I can post that last paragraph?

    Happy Easter

    - M -
  • I think that paragraph was the most problematic since you were making different lifestyles entirely equivalent and a matter of opinion.

    I washed everyone's feet in my Church on Thursday, and being Father of Confession I know the sins of all, as my own Father of Confession knows mine. I have no problem receiving each dear soul with the stain of sin upon them as someone loved by Christ, and by me. But that does not mean that the sinful choices or habits of any spiritual child are a matter to be mutually negotiated, or that there is a need for mutual repentance as if to sin and to reject sin are equally bad.

    Your last paragraph would have been better had you focussed on the need for all to wash one another's feet with humility because we are all sinners. As soon as you ask for special consideration for pro-gay Copts then you have strayed away from what is Orthodox and Christian and true. To be pro-gay is to be in a state of sin if this means to offer any support to the idea that homosexuality is neutral or virtuous. This does not mean that I hold any ill will towards any Orthodox Christian who struggles manfully and humbly with various passions that trouble him, nor that I believe the case is entirely lost for anyone who falls into such sins, or any other sins. The role of the Church is to help us find salvation, but this requires in us all a desire to be free from sin more than to excuse our sin.

    I entirely and completely believe that we are all sinners, and none of us must ever dare to look down on another as being sinful. But that never, ever makes sin excusable or allowable in itself. It is a sickness of soul which must repel us. But the one who is sick is not to be excluded from our mutual care, unless in his sickness he wishes to treat his sickness as health, and to convince others that his sickness is health.

    As long as you still seem to wish to insist that there can be any support or endorsement of any homosexual desires or acts I cannot allow freedom to post without my editing your posts as I feel necessary. I don't say that easily or without sadness.

    As for your post, which WAS indeed a helpful reflection. I am blessed to have a Christian flock who would have washed each other's feet on Holy Thursday had I asked them to do so.

    And I would gladly wash the feet of all of you who post here, pray for me, the unworthy priest.

    Father Peter
  • Father, if you're gonna erase what I write, please don't explain what I said in your own words, because you're giving it the wrong color.    I'm not making any special considerations, I was just talking in the context of the conversations here that there are indeed a few different sides, there have been arguments, and that beyond our strong opinions, we should take a step back and wash each other's feet like Christ told us, might change the way we deal with each other.
  • Then don't post in the way that you know will cause me to edit your posts.

    There are not different sides. That again is making it appear that there are different legitimate views. There is only one Orthodox Christian view about sexual desires and activity.

    Let us leave it there for the time being. This is not the time to revive this topic.
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