Holy Thursday and the church of the great unwashed

Martha Popson

By Martha Popson

We know that the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke tell the story of the Last Supper with the focus on the breaking of the bread. John alone has the washing of the feet episode.

Eucharist AND service, the holy sharing of the body and blood of Christ and the holy sharing of our very bodies and blood in the service of others — both are part of our call to follow Jesus.

Raymond E. Brown points out that there has been a huge discussion over who is able to preside at the breaking of the bread, a long queue of people just waiting to get the official word. 

He also mentions that there doesn’t seem to be much of a line fighting to wash the dirty, smelly feet of our sisters and brothers. Yet no official reason exists to stop any of us baptized (lay, ordained, whatever) from doing that.


So why do so many remain unwashed, unwanted?

God, grant us the gift to see you in the breaking of the bread. But, God, please also open our eyes to Christ-in-others, especially in the great unwashed and unloved, Jesus’ most beloved brothers and sisters. Amen.

(Martha Popson belongs to St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville.)

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