2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. – John 13:2-5
1969 was a good year! I got out of the Army in February, I went on my first disaster relief project (Scottsville, below Charlottesville, had a flood that was my introduction to cleaning up messes!), I was hired by IBM in September, and I married Mary in December.
We moved to Manassas and settled in. Shortly after moving, Mary said that we should find a church. I agreed. Since Mary was already a member of the Church of the Brethren, we decided to attend there. The minister, Rev. Carl Smith, took me under his wing. I was a little rough around the edges in those days. (Mary had to put up with a lot!) Rev. Smith gradually got me involved in the church.
We had been attending for a while and Easter came around. Reverend Smith asked me if I would like to take part in the foot washing ceremony. I had never heard of this ceremony. I had grown up in the Methodist church in Midland and we DID NOT WASH FEET! I asked Mary and she said yes we could go if I wanted. I sort of forgot when the night came around for the ceremony. Rev. Smith never said anything. When Easter came around the following year Rev. Smith asked me again. This time I was a little more curious about the whole ceremony. Once again Mary said if I wanted to go we should. So we went, me with a great deal of trepidation.
When we went into the church, the men were on one side and the ladies were on the other. Now I was nervous, Mary was my support system here. After a small service, we went to two different rooms. We took off our shoes and socks and sat in a row. Rev. Smith just happened to be next to me. When it came time for my feet to be washed, Rev. Smith washed my feet and then passed the towel to me. I washed the man’s feet next to me. What a humbling experience. I felt like I was at the table with our Lord. We left there and then had a simple meal. I have to admit that it was one of the most meaningful Easters that I had ever had.
I would say that if you have a chance to participate in a foot washing service, please do. I believe that you will receive a blessing from it.
About Gordon Haines
Mary and I moved our family to the St. Thomas church in 1983. Since then, we have worked on many committees and been blessed and continue to receive blessing from our church family.