Washing feet

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Posts: 564
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:39 pm
Parish / Diocese: Westminster cathedral
Location: London

Washing feet

Post by organist »

Once a year I lead the monthly spirituality day. The theme I was given was A new commandment. With this heat I started thinking about washing feet and consulted 2 distingushed liturgists who suggested getting a point person to start the process with me. Took along 2 washing up bowls, 3 jugs, towels and paper towels. I also painted 2 simple large pictures outlining hands and feet. Started by reading the Gospel passage. We sat in a circle and I went one way and my colleague the other way. It was made clear that people did not have to take part if they did not wish to so so. Quite spontaneously the 4 men took on the task of the washing. I can't kneel down so that was a help but it was quite possible to do it sitting. Taize Ubi caritas on my phone. Silence then spontaneously I said shall we say the Lord's prayer and then a joyous sharing of the peace. I spoke about Lourdes and Wintershall The Life of Christ play (near Guildford - go next year!) both profound and life changing experiences this year. Everybody thanked me for being brave enough to go ahead. It was pointed out that 12 were present plus myself! I wonder why we never experience this. Some people never go on Maundy Thursday and in any case the ceremony can feel remote. The organist who uses his feet a lot never gets them washed! Some organ consoles are so remote the organist never shares the peace! The point one person made is the physical nature of what we are doing becomes holy. If you have ever bathed a baby you will now what love is! :D Why can't we love each other more? Why do leaders not realise that they are those who serve? Why don't I want you to be my servant? Read Cardinal Vincent on Diocese of Westminster website at Lourdes on our bodies and how the media want us to see them e.g. Love Island instead of the beauty of Mary. :)

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Parish / Diocese: Clifton Diocese
Location: Glos

Re: Washing feet

Post by VML »

Thanks for this, very enlightening.

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Parish / Diocese: St Lawrence, Diocese of St Petersburg
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Washing feet

Post by PhloridaPhil »

In 1998 the Liverpool community of L'Arche visited Iona. Foot-washing is a frequent liturgical activity for this community. It was later published in HOLY GROUND edited by Helen Boothroyd and Neil Paynter and published by Wild Goose Publications. I was so impressed by this that I repeated it at a workshop during a Greenbelt Festival. We also used it at 3 Diocesan Assemblies of about 400 people at each. One of the great aspects of this particular liturgy is that it emulates John's Gospel account of the Last Supper in which the breaking of bread is replaced by foot-washing. This is not to say that a holy meal did not take place ... it may have been perceived as a given ... but John alone mentions the washing of feet. So this liturgy feels like Mass until the Eucharistic Prayer which tells the story of the washing of feet rather than the eucharist.

A more frequent celebration of liturgical foot-washing will enable people to understand the link between eucharist and action on the behalf of Christ for the good of the world.

It is also noteworthy that I too found little reluctance from folk wanting foot-washing. I wish the same could be said of trying to find at least 12 for Holy Thursday!

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