"So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet." (John 13:14)
As we move closer to the celebration of our Savior’s Resurrection, we continue the journey of Lent, the journey toward the cross. As a part of that journey, we attend the last gathering of Jesus and his disciples, known as the Love Feast, on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week. It is perhaps our holiest of ordinances, and certainly where our identity as the people of God known as the Brethren is most fully realized.
Love Feast encompasses three elements, each representing a very specific symbol of who we understand ourselves to be in our calling as faithful servants of God.
First we lift up the Symbol of Service: Feetwashing. We begin with the act of obedience to the teaching of Jesus. It is in our obedience to Jesus’ command and in our understanding of the symbolic intent of this willingness to serve others in Jesus’ name that we embrace our calling as true disciples.
Second, we engage in the Symbol of Community: the Agape Meal. We are not called to be lone disciples but rather to be the community of faith, together sharing the gifts God has granted to each of us. Together in this way we may be the living Body of Christ, “continuing the work of Jesus,” affirming one another, encouraging one another, loving one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Finally, we partake of the Symbol of Redemption: the Bread and Cup, the symbols of Jesus’ broken body, broken so that we might receive forgiveness and salvation. We again obey the very teachings of our Lord and Savior: This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. (I Cor. 11:24, 25)
As we lift up the basis of our faith in sharing the bread and cup, as we affirm our oneness in community in the act of the agape meal, as we embrace our willingness to be faithful servants in Jesus’ name in the washing of one another’s feet, we declare our understanding of what it means to be Brethren and, more importantly, how we understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
May all who gather here in his name receive the invitation to attend the Love Feast.