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race, footwashing, and church: a reflection on Holy Thursday

April 4th, 2012 by isaac · No Comments

I wrote a reflection on an Holy Thursday footwashing service. Here’s a paragraph:

I didn’t want him to wash my feet. It just didn’t seem right to me for an older black man to be bowed so low, at my feet, washing them, like a servant, like a slave. As he bent to the ground, I felt like I should say something, perhaps confess to him that this holy moment reminded me of the way people in North Carolina enslaved black bodies—the way his people were used, bought and sold, subjugated, oppressed, humiliated and abused; the way his black skin conjured for me the spirits of his ancestors. Listen, I wanted to say, your great-grandmother and great-grandfather’s blood is crying out from the ground beneath us (Genesis 4:10). With such a history, he should not take the form of a slave, not at my feet; I should wash his feet, all of us should wash his feet, as penance, as a modest gesture of atonement.

For the rest of it, look at The Mennonite magazine online: “A Holy Hybridity

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