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Foot washingToday I had the opportunity to go to an ecumenical foot washing service in Helsinki.  Ecumenical in this context means Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox.

An Orthodox priest led the service and the foot washing was done by the Catholic bishop who was assisted by a Lutheran pastor.  It was held in a the chapel of a  Dominican facility.

Foot washingThis is actually the first time I ever participated in a foot washing.  The service was in Finnish and was very nice.  I stopped trying to translate what was being said so that I could just experience the service.  I’m glad I did.

It was the perfect mix of Orthodox and Western Christian practice complete with incense.

The service got me thinking about foot washing and the symbolism that it holds.  In so many ways, we need foot washing.

We need to be washed of the nastiness that we set foot on each day and carry around with us – our sins.  We need to be washed to learn how to receive.  We need to be washed to learn how we can serve.  We need to be washed to see and experience humbleness.  We need to be washed to experience vulnerability.  We need to be washed to come to terms with who we are, with our own weaknesses and whatever shame we might carry, especially concerning our bodies.

We need to be washed.  And today we have an opportunity to be washed, ready to go forward into the rest of Holy Week.

Be washed my friends.