Story of the Day for Thursday May 31, 2012
Which Foot Church?
I call on you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, that there may be no divisions among you.
1 Corinthians 1:10
When Jesus told us to wash each other’s feet, I think he meant that we are to show love by humbly serving each other. Other Christian groups, however, interpret his words literally: we should get a basin of water and a towel and wash other people’s feet.
Even if I don’t agree on how they interpret Jesus’ words, at least it is comforting to know that these groups are practicing a powerful act of love and service to others.
William P. Barker tells how a church in Tennessee practiced foot washing. But then someone wanted to know which foot you should wash first. The Bible isn’t real clear on this, and so an argument arose in the church about it.
The disagreement of which foot to wash first could not be settled, so the congregation divided. Now there is a church sign which reads: LEFT FOOT BAPTIST CHURCH.
Isn’t it nice to know that this congregation can imitate the incredible humility of Jesus by washing people’s feet – in the secure knowledge that they are washing the right foot first? (By “right foot,” of course, I mean the “left foot,” and refer to the left foot of the “washee” rather than the left side of the one washing. I think.)
Did you know that, for ten centuries, the Christian church was not divided? The church had her squabbles, but, despite all the disagreements, believers lived in unity. The “Great Schism” occurred in the 11th century, and if focused on one word. The West wanted to add the Latin word, filioque, to a creed, and the East objected.
I’m not going to explain the controversy, or the other issues swirling around it. I’m not even going to tell you which side I agree with. My point is that it is sad that it had to come to this: that the day came when believers in Christ could no longer live in fellowship with each other.
Unity in the church is so easy to attain. If every Christian on this earth would simply agree with all of my opinions and views, all divisions would evaporate.
Unfortunately, there are some of you obstinate souls out there who think you’re right instead of me! What are we going to do?
For starters, we must never compromise what we believe in order to create an appearance of unity. But I have been amazed lately by how much we can erase misunderstandings and soften each other’s rough edges when we humbly listen to each other.
There’s no question about it: there is disunity among Christ’s followers based on doctrine. But I believe the far greater cause of disunity is not those who hold to a faulty understanding of the Bible. Unity’s chief enemy is pride.
What would happen if we met those from another denomination – not first to argue, not first to protect our egos, but to wash their feet?
If only we can remember which foot to wash first.