Saturday, April 4, 2015

Maundy Thursday

It is spring and this is Holy Week on the church calendar – the most celebrated time of the year for Christ’s church.

The last few days have been so beautiful. What we thought was dead is showing signs of resurrection. We are coming out of winter, landing fast and hard in sunshine and soft breezes. Only last week the snow was still melting off our deck. I love it when the sun warms my bones and does not yet burn like summer.
 The birds are nuts with singing. Across our neighbor’s little meadow, a ground hog emerged to sit in the warmth. We have waited all year to watch the magnolia tree, a shapely little bush off our deck open its paper white blossoms – the first flowers of spring after the forsythia. It is, I think, a star magnolia. The buds are bursting but not quite ready yet.

I’m thinking of getting a little dish of meal worms and orange slices to put out on the deck to see if we can entice bluebirds and tanagers. We are two months away from our one year anniversary in the House Between.

And last night the barred owls returned. We heard their haunting calls drawing closer and closer, coming through the woods until one landed in a tree just outside my office window, softly, strangely hooting: “Whoo-oo cooooks for you? Who cooks for you?”

Yesterday was the Maundy Thursday service. It was two hours long, but we did not notice, absorbed as we were in the readings and songs. A part of the service was foot washing - if you chose. I’m done with boot, crutch and all that - just walking with a slight limp now, so I went forward. I was a little unnerved, never having done such a thing before. When the person sitting in the chair with her feet in the basin is washed and dried, she gets up from the chair, and kneels to wash the next in line. At my turn, a young father with his 3 year old son tenderly washed my feet carefully holding my scarred ankle. The little boy insisted on helping. Who wants to hold anyone’s calloused cracked feet? Clammy, white growths housed for six months in slippers and shoes? Christ would. His humility and love are still shocking and this ritual reenacted reminds me of how little I understand. How difficult it is to bend and serve. Had we been there, he would have held my feet in his lap. And I would have felt like Peter, disturbed and nervous, knowing there was no way I deserved to have this man on the floor in front of me, but not sure I wanted to wash the others’ feet either. I know Jesus included us that night even though we live hundreds of years and many generations away from that first Maundy Thursday.

In that last good-bye-for-now conversation and prayers with his disciples, he prayed saying, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one.” (John 17:20)

 The final reading was from the Gospel of Luke – Peter’s denial of Christ. The lights dimmed, a few candles left, the altar ritually stripped, the cross shrouded in black, we sang the Kyrie Eleison, and left the church in silence. On the front steps, I was surprised by a small fire burning as we passed into the night. By then it was chill and a cold wind was blowing. Peter’s good intentions, gone, passed into the night as well. Just so.

I believe in Jesus. But I need help. He must awaken spring in me year after year as I live and wait for our final restoration.


Cranberry Morning said...

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

Anonymous said...

The birds will come, so will the raccoons, squirrels, deer & fox. There used to be three feeders and a large bird house along the deck. The porches were ideal for watching it all. And, I do think it was a star magnolia, maybe pink. Mom & Dad lived there since it was built.

Margie Haack said...

Anonymous, thanks for commenting. We are happy to continue the tradition of your parents - feeding the birds, delighting in their antics.