Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dirty Feet

In our Adult Bible Fellowship the past few weeks, we've been discussing worship and, in particular, the ordinances of baptism & the Lord's supper. As we read the passages last week relating to communion, I began reading John 13, where Jesus washed his disciples' feet. As clearly as Christ commanded his disciples to observe the meal as a reminder of his sacrifice on the cross, He also told them to follow His example and wash each other's feet. I wondered though, why is foot-washing not regularly practiced in most churches today?

The teaching I've heard on foot-washing usually takes one of two roads: it either emphasizes the servanthood of Christ, or it emphasizes the need for on-going confession and forgiveness of sins on a daily basis. While both are no doubt important truths, one other thought occurred to me.

Most of us don't have a problem with dirty feet nowadays, but we all struggle with ugly sin on a daily basis, sin we manage to hide very well. I think perhaps His intent was for us as fellow believers in the family of God to be open & intimate with each other. I think it was as important for Peter to allow Christ to wash his feet as it was for Christ to stoop down and wash them. The honesty was as vital as the serving.

In John 17, Christ continues on this night of nights by offering the prayer of prayers for his disciples. What an awesome glimpse into His loving heart we see here. Among other things, He prays for unity among the believers. He prays that we may be one, just like He and the Father are one. And this oneness will speak volumes to the rest of the world about the love of the Father.

What does it mean to be one? Oneness means when you hurt, I hurt. When you cry, I cry. Too often, it seems that church is more about a gathering of individuals than a oneness. A bunch of individuals, coming together, facades in place, to create an illusion of oneness. But are we really becoming one? When was the last time you admitted a weakness to a brother or sister in Christ? Obviously it wouldn't do to walk around the church with a sign around our necks enumerating our sins & shortcomings. But do we have someone we can be open and honest with? Or are we too ashamed to let anyone know we have dirty feet? To me, intimacy and oneness in the body of Christ start with the washing of the feet. The boldness to let others see the chinks in our armor, the cracks in the vessel. And the humility to admit we need each other.

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