I rarely enjoy a wedding as much as I did the wedding of Phil and Kelly Hassman. Part of it was my relationship with each of them. Kelly was one of my first students when I started teaching at the University of Indianapolis. She isn’t like every other college student. She speaks with depth and conviction about her commitment to Jesus. And she makes these terribly grounded decisions well beyond the maturity of woman in her early 20’s. She is the kind of young adult that makes you ready for where the church is heading.
She married this brilliant young man that I have had the joy of sharing life with for these last four years. Phil is one of the rare students that understood a call on his life to minister to me even as I ministered to him. His smile blesses me and his difficult questions challenge me. To think of these two amazing young people in mission and witness together is a hopeful thing.
But the pure joy that I get from my friendship with these two wasn’t the only reason that this weekend was so special for me. Both Kelly and Phil were commissioned by the Lantz Center for Christian Vocation that I serve as director. The climax of this formation process is a commissioning service just before they graduate in which I and my chaplain colleague, Lang Brownlee, wash the feet of the commissioned students following the example of Christ and calling them to follow Christ’s example as well.
I have washed both Kelly and Phil’s feet. I don’t know if they have ever washed one another’s feet. But I know that both of them have washed other’s feet both literally and spiritually many times. All of the high school students from Herron High School’s YoungLife, where Phil and Kelly serve, was a great testament to their commitment to service.
The pastor that married them, Jeff Krajewski, brought the image of foot-washing right to fore of their wedding. He challenged Phil and Kelly that one of the greatest ministries that they can have will be the proclamation of Jesus’ Good News as they wash one another’s feet. It will be the ground of their marriage. And their service to one another will tell us all something about Jesus’ love for the Church.
I haven’t had a chance to talk with Phil and Kelly about what was going through their mind as he talked about washing feet. I suspect that they were thinking a great deal more about the person that they were about to marry and wondering what they looked like as they stood in front of those several hundred people gathered. But I’d like to think that as Jeff challenged these two with the Gospel that is both embracing them and calling them to a deeper life, they were remembering the times when they have stooped at another person’s feet, washed their feet, and carefully wrapped a towel with care and compassion.
The call that Jeff gave to Phil and Kelly was also a call for me and lots of other pastors that the mundane things that we do to form persons….eating bread, drinking juice, serving soup, saying the Lord’s Prayer, memorizing Scripture, confessing sins, and washing feet…may come back into their lives as the most opportune time. Don’t forsake the disciplines of the faith, because washing feet may be the best way to learn how to model Christ love for the Church.