From the writings of Tertullian comes this picture of repentant sinners around the year 200 CE in North Africa.
Locate yourselves in the stream of time. Accepting for the moment the conventional dating for Christianity, this is a little more than 150 years after Christian communities were first established. No one from the first century is still alive, but possibly there were grandsons and daughters of some of the original Christians.
Tertullian writes (and allow for a dash of hyperbole-smile):
“Christian sinners spend the day sorrowing, and the night in vigils and tears, lying on the ground among clinging ashes, tossing in rough sackcloth and dirt, fasting and praying’
The access of sinners to church meetings was controlled. Sometimes a penitent adulterer would be led,
“into the midst of the brethren and prostrated, all in sackcloth and ashes … a compound of disgrace and horror, before the widows, the elders,suing for everyone’s tears, licking their footprints, clasping their knees … “
The above quotations from Tertullian's De puditicia
So if you ever thought of seeking reinstatement to the Christian congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you may have thought you had it hard as the elders exercised their prerogatives over you … but think of being a second/third century Christian and licking their bloody feet. Haha !!!