.As I shared about Eric Liddell I realized I missed an opportunity to serve. When I was in college I worked in a little Bible camp in upstate New York. One summer I was put on the crew to clean out the camp toilets. This was a camp that had primitive toilet facilities. Perhaps a bit nicer than what our brother Eric Middell had to clean out. These were akin to what we would call out houses in Arkansas.None the less the bathrooms had to be cleaned out for the guests that were staying there. Much like what our sister Leslie shared I was complaining and moaning and groaning. I now regret that I missed the opportunity to serve as our Lord would have served. I missed the opportunity to wash my brothers and sisters feet by cleaning out the outhouses.Maybe yet God may give me the opportunity to serve Him again in such a capacity in the not-too-distant future.But let us not miss out on opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters. Even if the task itself is not glorious. If we do it as unto Christ. Then we will have the glory of Heaven around us.Again simply my thoughts and reflections.
Liddell's example is one of love and humility and Christ-likeness. Jewels await this brother's crown. What a real-life example of our Lord.Please don't understand my encouragements of foot-washing as arguing that it is an "ordinance", per se. I simply urge us to the text itself and to the heart of Jesus in it. With that, I offer this note. Patristic era practice varied a great deal from one area to the next and one time to the next. Yet, it was an actual practice in the early church and not merely taken to symbolize other acts of humble, loving service. One writer says this: "Foot washing was considered to be a task for slaves, who were at the bottom of the hierarchy, and it was unheard of for social superiors to wash the feet of social inferiors. So the tradition of mutual footwashing among the early Christians was profoundly counter-cultural. In their dealings with the outside world, Christians were often obliged to follow the social conventions of the day (e.g. Col 3:22). But within their own communities, Christians participated in a new world order, the Kingdom of God. In that Kingdom all are of equal worth in God's sight (Gal. 3:28) and mutual service is customary." Take into account all that the NT teaches about hierarchies and "orders of rank" among Christians. Some actually believe that the reference to the Nicolaitans in Revelation ("whose deeds I hate", said Jesus) was to rank and hierarchy among believers. None of us are above our Teacher, and He abased Himself to become servant of all His brethren. That's what I want for me. And for you. That means that --- yes --- we humbly serve. Otherwise, even washing feet would be as meaningless as a baptism without a conversion. History records that the apostolic and patristic church literally washed feet in the manner of Jesus for the purposes for which Jesus washed them in John 13. Testimonies now reflect the powerful, uniting effect of it. Brothers and sisters, I ask you to consider what time in the history of the church of Christ is more sorely affected by division, agendas, betrayals and apostasy than today? In the time where the gospel is truly more global than ever, with something north of 90% of all languages having some of the Scriptures translated to them, what disunity is there among us around the Earth when you consider the far flung corners to which the gospel of Jesus is spread? How simply can we then abase ourselves to one another, particularly our assemblies, by this one act of lovingly washing one another's feet?
Well said, brother. I like how you pointed out the division and disunity prevalent among Christians today. Seems to me a lot of this could be remedied (on the local level) by some real foot washing. I understand the washing latrines thing - I get it. But I am growing weary of the suggestion of another false dichotomy. It is not my observation that those advocating for the washing of feet in the assembly are arguing that these other things are irrelevant or ignoring them. Literal washing of feet and other acts of selfless, humble service are not mutually exclusive. I don't feel that anyone is even implying that (except perhaps the "foot washing is largely meaningless" crowd). There is one thing I notice about almost every other example of humble service that has been presented: they are by and large solitary chores and rather impersonal. Foot washing is humbling and intimate/unifying. It is a statement to one another and a lesson from God to our hearts... And it kind of bothers me that some are still so vocal with their skepticism concerning it when more than a few brothers have shared moving testimonies regarding it and have bore witness that they felt led of the Lord to do it...Grace and peace to all those who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.