A Foot-washing Liturgy

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A Foot Washing Liturgy (Eucharist optional)

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

—John 13.34

Leader: Christ, our teacher and our healer,
you call us to your table, to celebrate our freedom in God.
All: We come, drawn by your Word.
Christ, our savior and our Sovereign,
you call us to be close to you in prayer.
We come, drawn by your Spirit.
Christ, our servant and our victim,
you call us to follow you in humility.
We come, drawn by your love. Amen.


OLD TESTAMENT — Isaiah 42.1-4

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
       my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit within you;
       you are to bring forth justice to the nations.
Do not cry or lift up your voice,
       or make it heard in the street;
Gently, so as not to break a bruised reed
       or quench a faint candle,
       faithfully bring forth true justice.
You will not grow faint or be crushed
       until you have established justice in the earth;
       and far lands wait for your teaching.


Gentle Christ, in humble service you renounce power, comfort and status.
We surrender our fear, and open our hearts to your grace.
You do not cry out; you will not quench even a dimly burning wick.
We confess our anger, despair and violence,
and our distrust of the power of love.
We confess our envy and judgment, our thirst to dominate and control.
You call us to be light for the nations,
to open blind eyes and release imprisoned souls.
May your compassion flow through us to all living beings.
We pray for all whom we think are beneath us.
We pray for all those whom we have judged or wounded.
Gentle Christ, you establish justice in all the earth.
Grant us your spirit of nonviolence, justice and mercy. Amen.


NEW TESTAMENT — 1 Corinthians 1.18-31

Suffering Christ, you humble yourself to death,
even to the shame and pain and injustice of the cross.
We confess that we hurt others, seeking our own security.
We pray for all who suffer, who are ashamed,
who are accused, for they are the Lamb of God.
You lovingly serve even those who harm you.
Grant us your spirit of humble servanthood.
Your tender love is more powerful than all our evil.
Grant us your spirit of self-emptying love. Amen.





SCRIPTURE — John 3. 1-17

Loving Christ,
in our sin you wash us clean; in our grief you bless us,
in our shame you honor us, in our weariness you restore us.
We confess our resistance to your grace.
Wash the feet of our hearts, that we may wholly belong to you.
You pour out your Spirit upon us, and make us your brimming vessels.
Anoint our spirits, that we may find joy in serving you.
Grant us your spirit of love, O God, your life-giving spirit of love.



SCRIPTURE — John 13.34-35

PSALM (Psalm 141, paraphrased)
Holy One, you who are always present for me, I call to you.
Hear the cry of my heart — oh hear!
My prayer rises like incense before you,
my hands I raise as my evening sacrifice.
Beloved, keep watch over my mouth;
stand guard at the door of my lips.
Keep me from evil thoughts,
from joining in other people’s anger.
Help me stay free from joining them in accusing;
may I never seek comfort in belonging with them.
Let righteous people strike me,
let the faithful condemn me,
but may the wicked never anoint me with the acid of their praise:
for every day I pray blessing in defiance of their evil.
When with the stones they would throw they are wounded,
then they will see how gentle my way has been.
The whole warring world is divided and split:
our bones lie at the edge of hell.
So we turn to you, O Loving One:
You are our healing, and our only hope.
Keep me out of the trap of blaming and judging,
the pit of evil so easy to fall into.
Let the violent be entangled in their own nets,
while I go freely on a different way.




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