6 responses to Foot washing
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    Comment on Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) (October 16th, 2012 at 07:31)

    Church of God (Anderson, Indiana)

    I grew up attending the Anderson, Indiana branch of the Church of God, which is non-denominational. For more info, see the link. To my surprise, this church was very Amish in some of their early beliefs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_God_(Anderson,_Indiana) Every year on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday), we had a carry-in dinner. After dinner, those who wanted to take part in foot-washing retired to a Sunday school room. It was usually a few of the older members of the congregation who participated in this ordinance.

    Footwashing started as an act of practical service in Bible times. Think of the roads back then–unimproved, dusty or muddy, filthy with animal waste. Feet bare or shod in sandals got dirty! Rather than track it all inside, people had their feet washed when they entered a dwelling, usually by servants. Would you expect the master of the house to perform such a humble act of service? No, but this is what Jesus did for his disciples when He instituted this ordinance at the Last Supper (on Maundy Thursday).

    For me, footwashing is symbolic of another Bible verse, 1 John 1:9– “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we’ve accepted Jesus’s sacrifice of His death on the cross, we’re forgiven of all sins, past, present, and future. Daily, though, we should acknowledge our sins, because Christians, alas, aren’t perfect! We start the day with the best of intentions, but we make mistakes. How refreshing to be cleansed from all unrighteousness by this simple act of daily confession, not unlike having the filth of the day washed from our feet.

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      Carolyn B
      Comment on Foot washing (October 16th, 2012 at 11:55)

      Stephanie, I grew up in the same church faith. I only participated once or twice in a footwashing service because my disability makes it difficult to remove shoes & socks and to serve as a footwasher because I can’t kneel down out of my wheelchair. Good memories of my youth and young adult years.

      In the Roman Catholic Church diocese I now attend, on Maundy Thursday, the senior priest washes the feet of twelve people selected from the congregation ahead of time. While we don’t all participate, I find it a moving experience.

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      Comment on Foot washing (October 16th, 2012 at 18:31)

      @Stephanie
      Hi, I grew up around the conservative end of the Anderson movement (Guthrie, OK group), and foot washing was (still is, I assume, although I dont attend many meetings there anymore) practiced as an ordinance. DS Warner had some Mennonite influence before he began the COG movement.

      On a general note, footwashing as an “ordinance” was one of the issues in the Amish/Mennonite schism in the late 1600s. Jakob Ammann wanted to introduce the practice, which the Swiss Brethren had not historically practiced. Ammann assumedly picked up the idea from the Dutch Mennonites and the Dortrecht Confession of Faith. Although the strict social shunning was a bigger issue in the schism, footwashing was involved.

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    Forest
    Comment on Foot washing (October 16th, 2012 at 08:25)

    Foot washing is done twice a year, at the same time as Communion, in our (Conservative Mennonite) church, in a very similar manner to what you describe as for the Amish. The sisters usually go to an adjoining room to do theirs, while the men stay in the sanctuary. It is a very moving (to me) act of service, reminding me of our responsibility as part of the brotherhood, to serve one another.

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    LeeAnn
    Comment on Foot washing (October 16th, 2012 at 10:07)

    As Stephanie mentions, this was done by the Lord to his disciples. I have always thought that is a special thing to have done. Reading the scriptures and learning more about the service to others is a moving thing. Foot washing is the most kind type of service anyone could do.

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    Terry Berger
    Comment on Just a few of my own thoughts (October 17th, 2012 at 19:29)

    Just a few of my own thoughts

    Within the Brethren tradition we look on being baptized as the initial cleansing from sin and being united with God through the saving work of his Son, Jesus. Footwashing is second in line to baptism in that it’s spiritual maintenance. It represents the ongoing cleansing work of the life of the church in our lives, and is an outward working of that continued work in our lives. It is also a symbol of our responsibility to our neighbor and our community. I have always found it to be a very meaningful and moving service to attend.

    Terry

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