House Church Talk - inclination toward ceremonial

Dan Beaty dlbeaty at
Mon Aug 30 22:11:29 EDT 2004


Your story about the choir director looking to the needs of the elderly
gentleman relates to me well on following the servant example of Jesus. I
also agree with Bruce that there are spiritual analogies there as well.

While I doubt that Jesus intended us to develop a ceremony of foot washing,
I have seen the value of this ceremony from my younger days. There is
something about getting down on your hands and knees and washing anothers
feet which can really touch both the giver and receiver. If am am truly
willing to humble myself in this way, there is a chance that other
opportunities to serve will not be as easily missed.

Dan Beaty

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce Woodford" <bwood4d at>
To: <House Church Talk  at>
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 6:14 PM
Subject: RE: House Church Talk -  inclination toward ceremonial

Hi David,

You wrote:
>Was our Lord telling us to do menial tasks for one another or was this
>the institution of the "ceremony of foot washing?" What in modern
>society, with it's dirt and mud-free roadways, might be the equivalent of

I personally do not believe the Lord was instituting a ritual of
footwashing. He was meeting a real need which was normally met by a
household slave or servant. Not one of the disciples had been willing to do
that service and so all had sat through the meal with dirty dusty feet!

The Lord Jesus took the place of the household servant and washed the feet
of His disciples and then taught them to do the same.

Does that mean that in our culture, where we do not usually wear sandals and
where footwashing is NOT a way of showing hospitality to guests, we are to
be "footwashers" anyway?

I think John 13:15 is very instructive in this matter. The Lord Jesus did
not say, "I have given you an example, that ye should do WHAT I have done to
you",  He did say, "I have given you an example that ye should do AS I have
done to you."

Washing the feet of guests in some cultures may be an appropriate response
to do AS He had done to His disciples. BUt I believe that just as He met a
very real need, just as He willingly gave humble service to meet that need,
just as He was sensitive to meet the needs of too, we are to do
AS He did.

Could I give an example that both convicted me and challenged me at the same
time. A few years ago, I was part of a Christian male choir.  We practiced
for 2 hours one evening every week. We were on our feet the whole time and
took a break in the middle for refreshments.  One week there were no chairs
in the room where we had our refreshments. This was no problem for most of
us who just stood around chatting. But one elderly man in the choir had back
problems and standing on his feet for any length of time was a real strain
on his back.  Finding no chair on which to sit, he had simply sat down on
the concrete floor with his back against the wall.

I, along with many of the other men saw him sitting that way but never
thought to meet his need!
The director of the choir was a few minutes later coming into the room where
we took our break. But the very first thing that he saw was the discomfort
of this elderly gentleman. Before he even got himself something to drink, he
immediately went to another room in search of a comfortable chair. He
brought it to the older man and helped him get up off the floor and into the

That made a deep impression on me! Our choir director had demonstrated
sensitivity, recognized a need and personally did something about it!  To
me, that was a practical example of the kind of servant attitude and action
which the Lord Jesus taught in John 13.

Your brother in Christ,

Powerful Parental Controls Let your child discover the best the Internet has
to offer.

  Start enjoying all the benefits of MSN® Premium right now and get the
first two months FREE*.


------- <><><> -------

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.