I have been fortunate enough to belong to communities that have practiced foot washing during the Holy Thursday liturgy throughout my life. It is always one of the highlights of the Triduum for me, whether my feet are being washed or I am washing another's feet. This year, as the world suffers through pandemic, it is only right that there will be no footwashing. Yet, knowing that it is the right thing to do for everyone's health and safety does change the fact that I will miss this most beautiful of rituals, which teaches us that discipleship, priesthood, leadership, the Christian way of life is first about service to one another.
Longing for some way to keep this beautiful ritual alive, I developed these prayers of the faithful and offer them for myself, for our Church, and for our world. They may be offered during an online prayer service as presented or prayed alone at home simply by removing the response.
Presider: That we may be faithful to Christ’s example of service and truly become a servant people we pray:
Wash us, O God, of sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all forms of exclusion -- that our Church may be a place where all share equally at Your banquet table, knowing themselves to be wonderfully made in Your divine image and likeness, we pray: Wash us, O God, and make us servants to one another.
Wash us, O God, of nationalism, xenophobia, racism and all forms and systems of prejudice and oppression -- that our lands may be spaces of bountiful welcome, sanctuary, refuge, and opportunity we pray: Wash us, O God, and make us servants to one another.
Wash us, O God, of consumerism, materialism, wastefulness, and other habits and mentalities which exploit and desecrate our common home -- that Mother Earth may thrive, feeding, sustaining and providing for all creation, we pray: Wash us, O God, and make us servants to one another.
Wash us, O God, of ignorance, hardness of heart, self-doubt, fear and everything that keeps us from walking in solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable among us, we pray: Wash us, O God, and make us servants to one another.
Wash us, O God, of feelings of despair and helplessness in this time of pandemic -- that we may reach out to one another in tender care and seek new and creative ways to be in communion and solidarity with each other, we pray: Wash us, O God, and make us servants to one another.
Presider: Pour your abundant love over us, O God, like flowing water; That we may be refreshed in faith and hope. May those who have died bathe in the light of your eternal presence; Give those who are sick to drink deeply of your healing energy; and immerse all who provide for our basic human need in your protective care.
We make these prayers, and all the prayers we carry with us, in Jesus’ name. AMEN
*A special thanks to Katie Lacz of Women's Ordination Conference for her input and affirmation as I developed these prayers.