2018-09-12 / Community

One Thousand Words

Meandering Melodies
by Susan Holsinger

Have you ever been inspired by a photo? There’s a saying that is very familiar to us. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

One thousand words. Does that sound like a lot of words to you? The articles I submit to this column are usually somewhere between 1,000 – 1,200 words. It takes anywhere from two to four hours for me to write one thousand words.

Is there a picture worth a thousand words living in your mind? I hope there are several!

I remember a minister making this statement during communion when he was preaching about feet washing. Think with me for a moment about this scene.

Believers are gathered inside a Meeting House where tables are spread with white cloths. Bibles lay open on the tables. Sisters are sitting together. Brethren are sitting together. Children are scattered throughout. Some are sitting with their parents. Some are sitting with young people at the back of the Meeting House.


Holsinger Holsinger Preparations for feet washing have been made. Foot tubs with warm, soapy water are sitting at each table. Towels lay close by. John 13 has been read where it speaks of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. The time of self-examination and prayer is finished. It is time to wash feet.

Two-by-two the feet washing begins using the double mode. At each table two brothers prepare to have their feet washed by removing their socks. The sisters do the same. At the opposite end of each table two get up and go together and wash their feet. One does the washing, one does the wiping/ drying. Each pair will decide who will do the washing and who will do the wiping.

Everyone at the table watches when the brother or sister kneels down and scoots the basin close and begins washing feet. Everyone watches as the brother or sister finishes washing the feet and greets the person with a Holy Kiss. Everyone watches as the second brother or sister starts wiping and drying the feet with the towel. When finished, they, too, greet the person with a Holy Kiss. The pair who washed feet returns to the bench and the two sitting beside them continues by washing the next two. This continues around the table, two-by-two, until the circle around the table is complete and everyone sitting at the table has had their feet washed. Everyone, at every table, will participate in both the washing and wiping and will have their feet washed. While this is taking place there is a brother preaching. That is when this statement was made about “a picture being worth a thousand words!”

It has been my privilege to be a part of feet washing for almost 40 years. I remember watching when my mother’s feet were washed. I remember watching when my grandma’s feet were washed. I have watched my sisters’ feet washed. I have sat by dear friends and precious family and both watched and washed their feet! I have watched our children’s feet washed! A precious memory. Someday in yonder scenes of glory there might be a time when we gather together as the family of God and wash feet, where no church fellowship lines will ever separate us again!

I know how it feels to have someone stoop down and wash and dry my feet. It’s humbling. I know how it feels to wash other people’s feet. It’s satisfying. I don’t think a thousand words can do it justice!

Men search for happiness today. They go here. They go there. There is a verse I love in John 13. After Jesus washed the disciples’ feet he asked them if they knew what he had done to them. He said if He washed their feet they ought to wash one another’s feet and He had given them an example that they should do as He had done. He said if they knew these things they would be happy when they did them! A thousand words fail to speak of the blessing and happiness that comes from following Jesus and doing simple things that speak volumes of how much we love each other.

Our mind thinks in pictures. When you read the word love you don’t think about the actual letters you just read. You think of a time you were loved. You think of the roses someone gave you, the casserole someone brought you, the words of encouragement someone wrote you, the app reciation someone spoke to you, a song someone sent you, the kindness someone showed you, the gift someone gave you, the talent someone shared with you, and the hug you needed when you were discouraged! These are the things you think about when you read the word love.

Have you ever participated in washing feet? I wonder what you thought about.

Over the years I’ve washed young feet and I’ve washed old feet. I’ve washed middleaged feet, too! I’ve thought about the places those feet have been and where they might go.

Young feet are smooth and strong. They haven’t been on the journey Home very long. Their feet tell the story of being sheltered from the storms of life. There are no calluses or deformities. Middle aged feet tell a different story. They feel heavier. They often have signs of both the desert and the valley; the experience of mountains and cold winter snows. Aged feet seem fragile. The skin that was made tough and leathery from the journey feels tender and wrinkly and thin. Sometimes they are swollen. Sometimes you can see veins through the skin and ouchy places. Sometimes their toes are crooked and their foot is misshapen. These feet have walked many miles as they stood the test of time. They are nearing the end of their journey Home.

Yes! A picture is worth a thousand words as you sit and meditate during feet washing!

You are living your life in pictures. Are your pictures worth one thousand words? Is the picture worth five hundred words? What is the value you place on the pictures of your life?

We live in a day of “selfies.” Basically, a “selfie” is a picture you take of yourself. A “selfie” can be a good thing. It can also reveal an unhealthy fixation of yourself.

Today the sky is a brilliant blue. It is Sept. 11. This is how I remember Sept. 11, 2001. It was a beautiful day. Then unthinkable things happened that morning. There were many pictures worth more than a thousand words that day after the tragedy in New York when the twin towers fell.

Your life is a canvas. Each picture is worth at least one thousand words! What does your picture album look like? Affirmation for today:

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Prov. 4:26

FYI: Meandering Melodies Books 1, 2, 3, & 4 are available at The Homestead in Lafayette and Remington. Weekly articles are on Meandering Melodies Facebook page, too. Call Susan to order: (765) 427-6296 or email: susan.holsinger@gmail.co m or write her at 7690 W. 700 S. Rossville, IN 46065.

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