i love crackerlilo. she gave me this link in her comments on my happy passover post.
(cl, sometime i'm taking my christian behind down to new york and finding you and your beautiful russian wife so we can have drinks together... i may even bring my gorgeous lithuanian hubby with me.)
today was maundy thursday, the day we remember jesus' last supper. it's doesn't always happen, but sometimes passover falls during holy week. the reason why these two sometimes happen in conjunction is because it was during the festival of passover that jesus made his way into jerusalem before his death. and it was most likely the passover seder that jesus was eating with his disciples where he instituted the lord's supper.
there are four components to maundy thursday worship: confession, foot-washing, communion, and stripping the altar in memory of jesus being stripped and beaten prior to his crucifixion.
confession is good... we do it as a community, speaking the words together and then as individuals kneeling at the altar and hearing the words that we are forgiven. forgiveness is a powerful thing.
there were only 3 of us who partook of the foot-washing: a nine year old girl who is deeply grieving the death of her god-father, the assistant minister, and myself. that's a powerful thing too; handling someone else's feet and letting someone else touch yours.
communion is communion. it's perhaps the most mystical thing in my faith. two ordinary things: bread and wine and God is in it.
but it is always the stripping of the altar that does it for me. for years growing up i watched other people, on maundy thursdays, stripping the altar. it was always done with the lights turned down low and someone chanting the 22nd psalm (the one that begins: "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" at the one congregation where i grew up we had two members who were blind. both of them had amazing singing voices and often sang solos in church. the one man, who's name i can't remember was legally blind. it meant that while the pastors were stripping the altar he could sing in the dark, by reading the words in braille.
i would watch as all these holy symbols were ushered out of the chancel (the front part of the church) and this pure tenor voice would be chanting from the dark...
our organist agreed to chant the psalm tonight. he has a very nice voice, but his real talent comes from his hands on the keys of the organ or piano. we clear the altar, the altar hangings, the bibles and each item puts a lump in my throat as i take it away.
when i was done i had to sit down. the only lights left on in the sanctuary are on the cross. it's beautiful and sorrowful all at once.
and i remember why i love what i do. and i remember how very loved i am.
God's peace y'all