I pick up the story of my life on the day before Good Friday. I went alone to the Maundy Thursday night activities at CMC and sat at a round table of mostly men. “Where is your Joy?” they asked. “She is home alone,” I told them. “Are you getting married?” They queried. “No!” I said. “Don’t be too sure! What if one of you has a change of mind?” they probed. “What then?” I asserted that for us marriage was not an option, that we both were sure of that from the beginning of our friendship. Then we talked of other things.
Those who planned the evening’s activities had worked hard to make it meaningful in a love feast of soup, fruit, and salad and sharing of mints. We ate the broken bread and drank the bloody cup of juice in remembrance of the crucified one. All this was accompanied by prayers, scripture, and song.
Then we went to separate rooms to observe the traditional washing of feet or hands. At first I walked beside LeeRoy Bechler, but then our ways parted, he to wash feet, and I to wash hands.
I found myself paired with my beloved mentor, Harold Bauman. The water in the basin was shallow and cold. The Old Bishop in me grumbled that if I were in charge I would have a word with the “deacons.” I had always insisted that the water for washing feet and hands be plentiful and warm. Phil Waite, senior pastor, stood near enough to hear, and he whispered that he agreed.
Since then it has occurred to the environmentalist in me that the “deacons” may not have wanted to waste warmed water to wash hands and feet that were already clean. Perhaps only a few those present had experienced washing with someone new to the practice. For us old timers a few quick splashes of cold water will do, but for new comers the washing seems to be more intimate, thorough and meaningful.