Love, Charity and Washing of Feet

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Today is Easter Sunday. I didn’t grow up a Christian, but as children my sister and I often went to the local church Easter camps. We glued little yellow chicks to pieces of painted cardboard, filled wicker baskets with soil and spring bulbs and learned Easter songs, complete with hand gestures! Of everything, I most loved the singing, especially in chorus. I would often get goosebumps as our voices filled the reverberant church interior, no matter how simple the song.

So I wanted to post a beautiful one today – though altogether more sophisticated than those ‘roll the stone away, let’s all celebrate’ songs we were learning at the time.

‘Ubi Caritas Et Amor’

 

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.

This ancient song in Latin is traditionally sung on the Thursday before Easter (Maundy Thursday) where the ‘Washing of the Feet’ ceremony is performed. I only just learned that such an act existed in the Western Christian tradition – although it makes perfect sense – see more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_washing

In the bhakti yoga tradition, there is much talk of feet: bowing down to them; serving them; meditating on them. As with most Eastern traditions, the washing of feet with water, or sometimes milk and honey, is an important part of honouring a person – divine or human. It seems far fetched to imagine foot washing ceremonies re-entering contemporary Western culture, but I can’t help but think it might have a profound effect on the way we relate with each other.

Christ washes the feet of the apostles. Humility, love and service in action.

Christ washes the feet of the apostles. Humility, love and service in action.

3 Comments

  1. Didn’t Krishna Himself wash the feet of all the guests at Maharaj Yudhisthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice? Yes I have got the reference here: 74th chapter of Krsna book: why Duryodhan felt insulted..,’ towards the beginning of the chapter x

  2. I learn a lot from your posts… thanku so much….

  3. I like ur posts . So simple and touching .
    Jai sri krishna

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