More than half a century after its introduction into the Easter liturgy, the rite of the washing of feet on Holy Thursday goes to the heart of what it means to take part in Christian liturgy—as well as to live a Christian life. In Washing Feet: Imitating the Example of Jesus in the Liturgy Today, Thomas O'Loughlin explores the significance of mutual footwashing in early Christian communities and in the rituals of churches today.
Washing Feet is a sound and engaging combination of liturgical theology, historical exploration, and practical pastoral guidance. Clergy, liturgy committees, and RCIA leaders involved in Holy Week liturgies will find this a useful and accessible resource for understanding how this practice is a key to how ordinary Christians understand the nature of the church and their relationship to others within their particular communities.
Thomas O'Loughlin is the author of The Eucharist: Origins and Contemporary Understandings and many other books. He is professor of historical theology at the University of Nottingham, UK.
O'Loughlin examines the practical, historical, and liturgical reasons for the Holy Thursday tradition and emphasizes how mutual foot washing can help us "recognize our human commonality and equality."
Pragmatic and pastoral. It is certain to prompt a deeper understanding of who we are as the community of Christ's Church.
Thomas O'Loughlin probes the rite of footwashing, and invites us into the vulnerability that this ritual embodies, not just one night of the year, but as the permanent foundation for relationships in the Christian community. What began as a domestic ritual is not tamed here, but given the opportunity to challenge us to get down on our knees before one another, and to learn what the reign of God acts like from the floor-and feet-up. Everyone who aspires to leadership in the Christian community or currently exercises it needs to read this book.
Bernadette Gasslein, Editor, Worship
Get this book-read it-study it-pray with it-laugh with it! Our humanity is so visible when we encounter something that is both ritually powerful and awkward. Author Thomas O'Loughlin has done an immense service to Christian communities by writing a readily accessible book on one of those `dangerous memories' in the Christian tradition-washing each other's feet as we follow the command and example of Jesus.
Abbot John Klassen, OSB, St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota