Love feast and communion
In an act of great love, Jesus gave his life for ours. The Brethren,
as Jesus’ followers, love God and each other—and
take that love into the world. Once or twice a year, Brethren
celebrate what the earliest Christians called agape: the outflowing
love that seeks not to receive but to give.
Jesus taught us this practice, sharing with his disciples a
last, loving meal the night before he died. He washed the disciples’
feet, ate supper with them, sought to draw them closer into
the fold of his love, and offered them the symbolic bread and
During love feast, we repeat these simple, meaningful acts.
After reconciling any discord among ourselves, we lovingly wash
each other’s feet, then enjoy a meal together. Quietly
we share communion, the bread and the cup that remind us of
Jesus’ great gift; we renew our commitment to follow his
example of sacrificial love. Congregations may also observe
the eucharist, or bread-and-cup communion, at other times and
in other settings.
Love feast closes with a hymn; then follows the humble task
of cleaning up, in which all are invited to participate. When
we leave the feast, reunited in our dedication to Christ and
to each other, the deep, nourishing love goes with us.
Jesus knew that this evening, this meal, was the last
time he and his twelve disciples would gather as a group. He
wanted his followers to remember, in the difficult days ahead,
why he had come and what he had taught them. When the disciples
began to argue about which of them was more important, Jesus
decided to make his lesson plain: Taking a towel and a basin
of water, this great teacher knelt beside the first disciple—and
did not stop until, like a lowly servant, he had washed the
feet of each one there.
By including the service of feetwashing in our love feast, Brethren
imitate Jesus’ actions and honor his lessons. No person
ought to be greater than another, Jesus taught. Love has no
need to prove status or position; love simply gives—and
keeps on giving.
A symbolic, cleansing act, feetwashing prepares us for the meal
and communion that follow. It reminds us that, in God’s
sight, everyone needs loving attention, and everyone can offer
that service to others. First we humbly accept attention and
care from the one who washes our feet. Then we in turn wash
someone else’s feet. After each act of feetwashing, the
two people embrace and share a simple phrase of blessing.
In receiving this emblem of God’s cleansing grace, we
remember that as followers of Jesus, we can help distribute
God’s blessing to others—through steady, loving
service, symbolically washing the feet of the world.