Originally posted by Carolyn Williams April 17, 2014 on her blog andthenthey.com
I wouldn’t say we go to an experimental church. But, yesterday our church had an experiemental service. They offered their first annual Maundy Thursday Family Service. I would call the experiment a success. The only thing they should change would be saving the nice towels for the adult service. More on that later.
During the Gospel, there was a full chorus of children singing various versions of the typical child-song. During the prayers, there was a line dance happening in the back pews. During the children’s sermon, I counted at least three children who were expertly expressing their emotions.
Then came the main event.
Our lovely priest washed any child’s feet who wanted their feet washed. There were pitchers of water, a big bowl for the feet, beautifully pristine white towels for drying.
The first spill happened right away, so it was good to get it out of the way. The first spill was born out of exuberance and happiness. Feet were washed.
More water was spilled. And more. More feet were washed.
Then came communion. When the kids gather around the altar, to be involved in the Great Thanksgiving, it was exciting, as always. Kids were watching the priest. Kids were sitting together. Kids were doing suspicious dancing, ending with mad dashes to the restroom. Kids were refusing to stand with their friends. Kids were spitting up. Exciting.
One thing that our church does is this – before the priest says, “The gifts of God, for the people of God,” he hands the bread and wine to the children to hold up. As he handed the pitcher of wine to Alma and another child, the priest said, “Here you go, Alma. And Carolyn. Help them.” No more spills, here.
Then the service was over.
There were muddy little footprints in the aisle.
All the pristine towels were soaked.
The children had clean feet.
The priest had damp robes.
I felt overwhelmingly happy that this was our church, and this was what our church does.
And it was good.
Editor's Note: Carolyn originally wrote this article four years ago. We are happy to say that our experiment went well, muddy footprints and all, and we have continued to include this service in our Holy Week schedule. All are welcome, young in body and young in heart.