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Preparing For The Lord's Supper In The Ordinance Of Humility (Foot Washing)

John 13:4-5 "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."


The Ordinance Of Humility

Modeled after the last supper that Christ partook with His disciples, which included Christ washing the feet of the disciples and sharing a simple meal together, the celebration of the Lord's Supper in our day should include a preparatory time of humbling which is called the “Ordinance of Humility” or “foot washing,” and the sharing of a few symbolic items that remind of the meal that was shared shortly before Christ was crucified. 

Most churches do not include the humbling portion of the service in our day. We believe, however, that the preparatory service is an essential and blessed part of the ordinance. Just as Christ found it necessary to serve the disciples because there were issues between them—pride and the desire to be first, so the issues that sometimes exist between members in our day necessitate a similar time of humbling to address issues in our celebration. 

It would be wonderful if there were no issues to be concerned about. Unfortunately we are often plagued with less than ideal relationships in the same way the disciples were, or have other shortcomings that need attention. A Lord's Supper that includes the foot washing segment, accordingly provides a quarterly opportunity—at least in our denomination—to address issues: seeking to be right with God, seeking to be right with others, in a unique kind of way.

We would encourage believers, therefore, to begin the preparatory heart-searching in the days leading up to a Lord's Supper—asking God to reveal individuals or situations where an apology or other remedy is needed, and seeking to make things right, or whatever the case might be—to gain the full benefit.

The service also allows a believer to consider in a particularly special way, the love of the Lord Jesus in coming to earth, living a perfect life, taking on the sins and shame of His true followers, and dying on the cross that should have been theirs. The “bread” represents the body of Christ that was broken; the juice represents the blood that was shed on their behalf. 

The first Lord's Supper was open to all the disciples, even though they were unworthy—one especially unworthy, anyone should be able to participate. However, remember that participation does not automatically mean that we gain the blessings intended from the ceremony as was true in Judas' case.—Dan Augsburgewr