Archive for the 'Worship' Category

Change!?!, Understanding Context, Worship


Veritas is planning on having our first “Love Feast” (I really don’t like the name….seems like a throwback to the Sixties, or honestly the name of a 70’s Porn Movie) on Sunday October 11. As I began to plan the gathering I sent out a preliminary gathering plan to our Core Group for feedback and their thoughts. This has turned into an e-mail conversation focusing around the feetwashing part of the gathering. I thought I would post some of the thoughts of the Core Group, and get your feedback. What do you do with Feetwashing? Do you do it, do you offer another way of serving each other (handwashing), do you find a modern equivalent, do you forgo the feetwashing altogether? Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Here are the comments from my Core Group:

Do we have to wash feet/get our feet washed? I get the whole Jesus got dirty in connecting with us and we need to be ready and willing to get dirty too- and I def think I do that with people (in the mental/emotional/spiritual sense); but is there any alternative for people who don’t want to do that?

am I just being weird over nothing? Totally not trying to be a party pooper….

To all,

Carmella brought up the same concerns I struggled with about this tradition. Below is my experience

I have been involved in the brethren faith for 5 years and until about a year ago never even considered going the twice annual service where foot washing is performed.

A) I was grossed out
B) I was embarrassed
C) I was cool with washing someone elses feet but didn’t want anyone to do mine.

A. It wasn’t anything gross. A basin is filled with a very mild bleach water solution. The washee placed his feet into or on the edge of the basin and you cupped your hands and poured water over the feet. you then took a towel and dried them.
B. While I was nervous my feet would somehow ruin the entire event my foot washing went just like everyone else. No one singled my tootsies out for ridicule 🙂
C. Willingness to humble myself but refuse to let someone humble themselves before me defeats to whole point of the tradition.

It’s funny I remember the last hour or two before the service being really freaked out and now I’m just meh.

The service was moving and I understand why it is a tradition is some denominations. It will never be my “favorite” service but I hope everyone will try it once and then we as a community can discuss it further. I do believe that in experiencing it you will find something of significant worth.



I grew up in a church that regularly did feetwashing and i still don’t like it. Frankly, I have trouble seeing the point. Jesus showed hospitality by caring for his guests who had traveled to be with him. It was especially shocking that a rabbi would do something normally done by a servant. So do we do exactly as Jesus did even though we live in a different culture? Or do we show hospitality in a way that people would be shocked at our humility?
And regarding hospitality, I think we need to turn around our definition to truly understand the concept. In many cultures, hospitality means that you recognize your visitor as someone sent from God with a message or gift for you and you are blessed to have that person visit you. How would we treat people that God sends to us? Would you tell them to take off their shoes so you can wash their feet if that is uncomfortable for them?
I do love the Love Feast idea and if we do the feetwashing thing I’ll do it while gritting my teeth.


Just to throw out a different point of view… For me, the footwashing service has always been the most meaningful service. I don’t think it’s as much about hospitality as service. It’s about humbling myself to someone else in the same way that Christ did, as well as allowing someone else to serve me, which in our culture I think is the harder part. I’m not sure there is a modern day equivalent. It certainly isn’t about forcing someone to do something that is uncomfortable for them, and I would assume that anyone that wouldn’t want to do it could just “pass”.


I grew up with this practice and so I can understand how some people would find it meaningful. I might even find it meaningful if I were with others from my same church tradition and who I knew were comfortable with the practice.

But when I think about some of my neighbors or friends coming and being confronted with this practice, I can almost imagine their aversion to it.
And this makes me uncomfortable. If we do foot washing together but fail to communicate the message of servanthood/hospitality what is the point?
Are we then just serving ourselves? Would those who find this a new
practice really understand what we are trying to do? If we really want
to show service and hosipitality to others and one another, how do we best
communicate that to our current culture? Foot washing was as common and
normal to those of Jesus’ day as going out for coffee is for us. We don’t have servants so much these days so it makes it hard for us to understand and feel the impact of what Jesus really did. I think it’s important for us to find a way in our current culture to show each other love and service in a way that’s completely understood and impacts people.



So as you can see we have a very thoughtful team and one that is concerned about the “other” and those who aren’t yet Christ followers. They are aware of contextualization and understanding culture. They have great insight. I don’t want to do something just because that is what we do, or because we are Brethren. What are your suggestions regarding Feetwashing? Any and all thoughts would be helpful.

Ryan Braught

Church Planting, Ministry Formation, Worship, Young Adults

I’m So Excited…and I just can’t hide it…(as the song goes)

I’m so excited about what God is and has been doing in and through Veritas the last few weeks. He has done exceedingly more than we can even dream or hope. I feel so blessed to be able to be involved in this new adventure in faith, mission, service, and worship. Here are some of the things that have me excited…

1. This past Sunday we had an amazing turn-out. Now we aren’t all about numbers…but it is awesome to see people coming and having interest. We had 41 people there and when you subtract a friend who brought her small church (I think there were 7 there), and 2 “friends” of Veritas….you get 32 people (including kids). Some of the 32 have been there all 3 weeks, some for 2 weeks, and about 8-10 visited for the first time this past Sunday. Two of the ones who have been there all 3 weeks are F&M college students and they are amazing. I met the one for lunch on Thursday and had a great conversation and I am meeting the other one tonight for coffee (and probably dinner for her). Another who has been there every week is an amazing artist, poet, and overall great person who gets what we are all about and probably travels 30 minutes or so to be with us each week.

2. The visitors who came on Sunday is another reason that I am excited. A couple came with their two children. The father is a friend from years back and is a drummer. He spied the Djembe sitting up front and asked if anyone was playing it… I said I normally did but he would be more than welcome. So he got up and played Djembe during the 1st musical worship set. They have been looking for a missional church to be involved with, and will be returning this Sunday. Another couple came because of our presence at Purple Door. This couple blew me away (the wife’s name is Trinity…instant connection). He is ex-Amish (which is a story I would love to hear) and she is an amazing artist. We have connected via Facebook and it looks like they will join us this coming Sunday.

3. Last evening we had our second worship planning session with 4 of us there. The ideas were flowing last night around our next series entitled “We have questions, do did they”. The thoughts, ideas, and comments that flew around the table last night was amazing. The synergy was evident and electric. I’m excited about the next sermon series.

4. This Sunday is Service Sunday where we go out into the community to seek to be a blessing. At this point we plan to walk through Marietta and pick up trash in various places (streets, parks, etc..) I will be calling the borough office tomorrow to see if there is anything we could do for them.

Anyway I am so excited about what is going on and the future of Veritas. And that’s why I had to write this because I am excited and I just can’t hide it….

Spiritual Formation, Worship

Give Me Your Eyes

Yesterday during our 10:15 AM Worship Gathering at Hempfield COB, a music video was played that connected with the theme of the morning. I had never heard of the song, as I am not a huge listener of the local Christian radio station. But I was impacted by the words to the song, and the writer captured one of my prayers as I sit in “public spaces” and bump into people.

The song is called “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath and here are the lyrics:

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere,
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

I’ve Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all along

Chorus (x2)
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Lord…give me the eyes to see people the way you do, through the eyes of love, compassion, mercy, and grace. Give me a heart that breaks with the things that break your heart. Give me eyes to see where you are moving so I can join you in that work.


Still going well….

A while back, I wrote about a bible study process that I was using in a mid-week bible study time… as a way of testing if it could be used as the “message” part of a new worship gathering for young adults.  Well, it is still going strong on Wednesday nights.  Last week, I used it with 18 Sr. and Jr. High youth and that went well and was positively received and affirmed by the youth.  So, today, I decided to use it in both Sunday a.m. worship gatherings.  It was the conclusion of our series on James… 5:13-20.  The process is to read the scripture passage aloud three or four times.   Today I read it once, a volunteer from the congregation read it and then we all read it in unison… I provided a printed version in the program and on the screen.  Then I asked the 5 questions and moderated the comments and concluded with a special musical ensemble singing “Anoint Us, Lord” while folks came forward to experience anointing.  It was a phenominal experience in both gatherings!   I think this process can be used effectively with all ages, all levels of spiritual maturity from longtimers to seekers.

 The five questions are…. 1. What do you like about what we just read?  2. What don’t you like about what we just read? (this one opens the window the widest for the Spirit to enter our midst!)  3.  What don’t you understand?  4.  What did you learn about God from this passage?  and 5. Regardless of where you are on your faith journey, if you applied what you learned about God from this passage to your life this week, what would it look like?

 I highly recommend this process for any setting! It is very spiritually enriching!

Books / Readings, Worship

Gleaning from Readings…

In another post (a comment from my Forgiveness post), Jeff asks how much I read.  I read LOTS for many reasons, but primarily to glean illustrations, stories, quotes that will be helpful in preaching.  But you might ask… what do you do with those stories, etc.

 Years ago, both Dean Miller, then pastor at Christ Church of the Brethren in Carol Stream, IL, and John Maxwell, Leadership guru… taught me a great system that I have used for nearly 20 years.  When I read, I do so with pen in hand … I mark up all my books… underlining stories, quotes, etc and then in the margin I write a topic or theme.  Then I also record the page number in the back of the book.  When I get a stack of books that I have read, I go to a copier and make copies of the pages listed in the back.  Then I file those stories in a folder that is labeled with the theme.  I keep the file drawer alphabetical by theme.  Then when it comes time to preach on forgiveness, I go to the file drawer and pull out the file folder that says “Forgiveness” and I have lots of possible quotes, stories, etc to choose from.  I also mark the date on the story once I use it so that I know when it was last used.   This has been a real life-saver for me.

 Do you have a system you use?  Share it with us.

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