Maundy Thursday reflections: longing and hope

My heart is nearly broken with sorrow/ Remain here with me/ Stay awake and pray

Tonight I shared in a remote Maundy Thursday service through the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest’s Cathedral, which is sharing its social distanced Holy Week services with their many church plants due to COVID-19.

Maundy Thursday is another name for day we remember the Last Supper, when Jesus Christ celebrated Passover with his disciples before he was arrested and murdered. It’s an evening of celebration before their world was shaken.

Jesus gathered with his twelve best friends, washed their feet as a display of service and love, and ate with them, all while knowing that one of them would betray him just hours later. He let that person go to do his business, gathered the rest, and told them to watch and pray. You can read the account in Matthew 26.

Jesus earnestly desired to eat with his disciples at that last meal before his arrest and crucifixion. He longed to be together with his beloved ones, drinking from the same cup and eating of the same bread.

One bread, one body, one Lord of all/ One cup of blessing which we bless/ And we, though many, throughout the earth/ We are one Body in this one Lord

I too long for that. I want to worship in community, to sing with abandon and in the company of 50 other singers, to hug without fear, to HUG. I wish to be in the physical fellowship of my sisters and brothers of faith and with them partake in his Body and Blood as Christ, the Messiah, instructed us.

(My congregation is blessed to be able to partake in the Body “in one kind,” so just the bread, which has been blessed for us. The latter half of every service is devoted to communion, and there is also a liturgy for those who cannot eat the flesh in this time. We were even given palm branches and candles, delivered to our doorsteps for this Holy Week. I am grateful for all the measures the leadership has taken to allow us to worship in as much of an embodied way as possible during this pandemic.)

Despite the unfulfilled longings and the coming darkness, in his message tonight, Father Trevor reminded us of the unshakeable hope that we have as Christ’s disciples. At that last peaceful dinner, Jesus experienced the yearning we are experiencing now in quarantine, for he knew what was to come. Yet he also had hope, which he passed on to his disciples.

The Last Supper was Jesus’ last time drinking wine before his Kingdom is united. And we still await that day when we shall feast at the wedding of the Bride, which is the Church, and Lamb, which is Jesus Messiah, as the book of Revelation describes.

Even as the world crumbles around us — and for some it has always been crumbled or already been shaken — or even as we experience isolation that was not what God intended for humankind, Father Trevor reminded us to hold on to the unshakeable hope we have in Christ.

I can’t get ahead of myself.

It isn’t Good Friday yet, so as we reenact the story through the liturgical calendar, Jesus still has to die. Then we have to wait a dark day thinking that all is lost and everything we put our faith in was a lie. Then on the third day, we’ll be surprised by Jesus, who is full of grace and truth, actually fulfilling ancient prophecy and words promised to his disciples. (And, spoiler alert, he spreads that news through women.)

But tonight we watch and pray.

You found WHAT in the library?!

Life is full of surprises, some less pleasant than others. This pandemic is one of them. But other times, it’s full of bizarre discoveries and moments that make you shake your head and chuckle.

Mind if I share some to evoke a smile?

Here are some strange things I’ve come across:

  1. A bread knife in the church library. Despite having read all the Hardy Boys books, my best friend and I never figured that one out.
  2. Toenail clippers on top of the fridge. We had three sets, always all over the apartment, but the least sensical place was the top of the fridge…kwanini, kweli?
  3. Decapitated fish heads strewn across the kitchen floor. They were ndaga, the little silver ones from Lake Tanganyika, and they avoided the trashcan like I’m trying to avoid corona. #StayHomeSaveLives
  4.  My housemate playing guitar in the center of our jade green bathroom. His response when I found him on wooden chair by the toilet, surrounded by the mirrored walls? “Acoustics.”
  5.  A banana on the return shelf in the campus library. My coworker discovered this on one of his first shifts and asked the boss if that was a normal find.

    Bread in bag Blog temp

    PC: KSB

  6.  Two pieces of partially eaten bread put back in the bag. Two separate pieces, both eaten half way. With bite marks.
  7.  A man driving with a wash cloth on his head. No, it wasn’t a hat or a turban or a du-rag. It was a square wash cloth flopped on top of his head as he cruised down the street.

Have any stories of your own? Comment below!

Stay safe and stay home. Peace.