14 April, 2006

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday
Holy week. Maundy Thursday. Tenebrae Service and Lord's Supper.

The Maundy Thursday service at my church is so intense. Talking before and after the service strongly but tactfully discouraged. A lone parishoner silently handing out bulletins. The shutters all closed tight against the invading twilight. Songs. O Sacred Head Now Wounded. Handwashing and communion. Scripture after scripture - shadows of denial, betryal, anguish, destiny, the cross. Death, the final insult.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, sometimes it makes me tremble. Tremble. Tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

During that song, the minister removed his robe. Removed all elements, candles, sacremental symbols from the altar table and covered it in rough black fabric. Then he used another piece of the rough black fabric to cover the pulpit. And in silence he left us. He hammered three nails into wood.

The organ sounded an earthquake. The sanctuary was completely dark. It was after eight, so darkness was outside; even the twilight had given up.

After a few moments a few of the lights came up and people could see to leave. I sat in my pew. Crying. Reminding myself that without the death of Jesus, there could be no resurrection. Without His suffering, no salvation. Without the cross, no empty tomb. Without Maundy Thursday, no Easter Sunday.
As I continue to grow older, and grow up, I notice more and more things that "have to be." I remember when Rudy Huxtable got her period and she was horrified and did not want to be a woman, did not want to take part in any of the rituals her family had developed to mark that ausipcious occasion. Clare told her "to be a mother, this has to be." I remember that moment as though I had been there.
This has to be. Darkest before the dawn and all that. Seven years of infertility to get Molly. A year of struggle before Bob got the great job. The death of Jesus for the salvation of mankind. This has to be. This has to be.


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