The Bliss Blog

Today is considered a holy day in the Christian faith. Occurring the Thursday prior to Easter, it commemorates the New Testament telling of the day that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples.

According to Wikipedia: Maundy (from Latin mandatum or mendicare),[1] or Washing of the Feet, is a religious rite observed by several Christian denominations. John 13:1–17 mentions Jesus performing this act. Specifically, in verses 13:14–17, He instructs them:

14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Although I was not raised in that tradition; but rather the religion of Jesus- Judaism, I have long been moved by the ritual and have participated in it during a Maundy Thursday service at an interfaith community called Pebble Hill . I was moved by the humility and service to another that the act implied. It involves being on the ground and indeed, grounded. It means touching a part of the body that many would consider unsavory, when in reality, they are connected to holy ground; the Earth on which we walk. We had basins of water, imbued with oils and one by one, each was the giver and each the receiver. It felt like a meditation on both sides of the experience. I sigh in remembrance.

I am also recalling a wedding ceremony I officiated for my friends Ruth Anne and Jason Wood during which they incorporated a foot washing ritual that honored each other. Ruth had knelt at Jason’s feet after he had taken off his socks and lovingly bathed them. When it was time for Jason to reciprocate, Ruth got a quizzical semi-panicked look on her face as she whispered, “I’m wearing stockings.”   I thought that in preparation, she would have donned knee-highs. Not so. Rather than rolling down her pantyhose to expose her bare feet, Jason splashed a bit of water on her tootsies. We all got a good laugh at that.

Think about the ways you can symbolically wash the feet of those you encounter and be of service to them and by extension, the world.

  • Call someone to check in on them
  • Run errands for friends and family
  • Engage in random acts of kindness
  • Offer a listening ear
  • Help someone with a project or clean-up
  • Plant gardens in abandoned lots
  • Visit people who are home-bound
  • Share words of love and appreciation
  • Make amends for anything said or done that may have been hurtful
  • Be in integrity
  • Speak the truth
  • Stand up for those who are unable to do so for themselves
  • Heal your past wounds so they don’t spill over into your future
  • Support the work they do
  • Share ‘good gossip’ as you say positive things about people
  • Connect people in your life, so they can enrich each other
  • Drive people to appointments
  • Pay for someone else’s meal
  • Leave flowers on a doorstep
  • Pay to the toll for the car behind you
  • Use your God-given gifts to do what you were born to do

Will you allow others to be service to you as well? That is often even more challenging than caring for others. We may feel unworthy of receiving that kind of tending to. Remember that it is a gift to the other person when we allow them to love us.

Wishing all who celebrate, a transcendent experience.

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