We received a very warm welcome from the Reverend Fr. Louie Engnan, and the members of the St. Michael's, Surrey faith community at the Maundy Thursday Eucharist with Washing of the Feet and Stripping of the Altar, April 13.
At 6:30pm prior to the procession Fr. Louie welcomed the congregation including the visitors and shared some information about what would be taking place during the liturgy.
Fr. Louie chose to focus on the Gospel text, John 13: 1-17 31b-35, certainly some of the most sublime words offered by Jesus in any of the four Gospels. This text includes Jesus’ paraphrase of the Shema “to love God and love one another” and Fr. Louie repeated this section of the Gospel to begin his address. He went on to say that "Jesus begins by taking the place of a servant in an act of intimacy...Jesus is not self-conscious or uncomfortable with this act." And then he asked those gathered, "Which role would you be more comfortable playing?" He continued, “We value a culture that values doing not being. We measure personal worth on what we can do or what we can contribute.” Fr. Louie spoke about his work as a long term care provider and spoke of the despair felt by those he treated who no longer felt that they were contributing.
He said, “feet are a metaphor for our vulnerability.” By washing feet we are expressing love and we should be aware that “the ability to be a gracious receiver is equal to being a generous giver…if we are unable to receive the ministrations of those who love us, then it is difficult to express gratitude and love to those who give themselves to us.”
Following the washing of feet, Fr. Louie called on the members of St. Michael’s Altar Guild to strip the altar, fold the linens, remove the hardware and extinguish the candles.
Following this sombre liturgy there was joy expressed as St. Michael's warden, Jeddy James was joined by his parents for this Holy Week liturgy. Within the previous 24 hours they had just arrived from Bombay and will spend two months with Jeddy and the rest of the family.
Washing of feet Father Louie preaching Stripping of the altar and folding the linens Jeddy James family: Photo from left to right: Mary Abraham, Jeddy James, Elizabeth Abraham, Jaitura James, James David