Within the Christian community there are common sacraments such as baptism and communion, but have you ever considered the lost sacrament?
How could something as critical as a sacrament be lost? Unfortunately it is fairly easy to lose important teachings simply by taking the emphasis off or neglecting to teach and practice them.
Foot washing is one of the biblical teachings that some like myself would consider at the sacrament level. Others have downplayed its importance and many refuse to give it any place in the modern church. Let’s consider three merits of foot washing;
- Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and told them, “’If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’ ‘For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.’” John 13:14-15 NASB
- Foot washing, when done correctly, has a major impact on the person doing the washing. In Jesus’ day this was the task of the lowly slave who was designated to wash the feet of more honorable guests. Thus, the person who is washing feet is put in a place of humble servitude. This is exactly what Jesus wanted His followers and future leaders to understand. Biblical leadership requires true humility and a servant’s heart. Wow, could we use some of this in the Church today!
- Foot washing also has an impact on the person having their feet washed. Having been on both sides of the towel, I can testify that there is a surprising reaction when someone has their feet washed by another person, especially a leader who they look up to. The reaction is generally mixed with embarrassment, reluctance, evaluation of ones needs and can even bring up shame and value issues. Consider Peter’s reaction when Jesus went to wash his feet, “Simon Peter said to him, ‘Never shall you wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’” John 13:8 NASB
When foot washing is practiced with the right heart attitude it affects the relationship of everyone involved. Yes, even those observing can be touched in very deep ways by watching a minister or other leader take the first step and wash someone’s feet. There has been much healing in strained or broken relationships through the simple act of foot washing.
What experiences have you had with foot washing?
Why is foot washing not considered a sacrament or at least given a place in the modern church?
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We will discuss Foot washing on the next Minister’s Candidate Conference call. If you are a current candidate for ordination, licensing or commissioning watch your email for details on the conference call.