Jibstay

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Foot-washing at a Wedding

That's right, a foot-washing at a wedding. Yesterday I saw a young bride and groom wash each other's feet before saying their vows to each other. As I stood where this photo was taken, I was both awed and awkward. I watched as she tenderly knelt in her beautiful dress and untied his shoes and took off his socks.She poured water over his feet without a word and dried them. Then she put his socks back on and tied his shoes. He extended his hand from the chair and helped her stand. They exchanged places and then he took off her shoes, pouring water over her feet into the basin and drying them with the towel. When it was over, they stood before me for their vows, the basin filled with water and the used towel lying next to it; a perfect symbol of a life of mutual servanthood.
It's the second foot washing I've seen in a wedding. I think it is a step away from the unity candle tradition; of two flames merging into one. This act is less about identity and more about role: humble servant to each other. It is so spiritually intimate that I almost feel like I should turn away. Nothing triggers a pastoral prayer for a couple than to pray over them while they kneel at each other's feet and wash them.

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