Wed, Mar 23, 2016 - Page 10 News List

The foot-washing ritual

Teachers in Stella Matutina Girls’ High School in Taichung wash their students’ feet on Thursday last week.

Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Liberty Times

After the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, leaving behind him a paradigm of service. On Thursday last week, Stella Matutina Girls’ High School in Taichung also performed the rite of foot washing, during which Principal Chu Nan-tzu and a dozen teachers washed some students’ feet.

Chu said that the feet are the lowliest part of the body and the one that most easily gets dirty. Both washing other people’s feet and letting others wash yours take considerable courage. Just as it may be difficult for a person to bow down and kneel to wash someone else’s feet, the person receiving the service may also be worried about his own smell, the ugliness of his feet, itches, athlete’s foot and so on. It is a challenge for both the service provider and the receiver. Hence people can learn through the foot-washing service that providing a service is a humble job that requires extraordinary benevolence and love. A person who provides service with love will not think about his identity or his own needs and rights, but only the needs of others.

During the foot-washing ritual, most students felt embarrassed to have their feet washed by their teachers. The teachers washed the students’ feet attentively with clean water and then dried them. Some teachers considerately asked the students whether the water temperature was comfortable for them or encouraged them to study diligently.

Chen Chun-chin, president of the students’ union, received the foot-washing service from Chu and then provided the same service to her classmates. Chen said that, in comparison, washing other people’s feet was easier than letting others wash hers. Washing others’ feet was pure giving, whereas letting others wash hers had a lot to do with receiving. Initially, she felt very awkward about letting the principal wash her feet, since, after all, the principal is an elder as well as head of the school. However, when she saw the principal kneeling down before her, washing her feet and rubbing them, she felt embarrassed yet also enchanted. She really felt from the bottom of her heart that she wanted to emulate her teachers’ act of bowing down and serving with humility.

(Liberty Times, translated by Ethan Zhan)






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