Maundy Thursday

9 Apr

Truth be told, Maundy Thursday is one of my favorite Holy days.  It breaks the quietness of the beginning of Holy Week – and wow, the Lord did it with a bang.  On Palm Sunday he is lauded and praised as he enters Jerusalem.  We hear little, if anything (a biblical scholar I am not) from then until Maundy Thursday.

Much happens on this day – Christ’s last meal in which He instituted the Eucharist, His suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot.  In the Maundy Thursday mass, this translates into a foot washing and stripping of the altar.  In four days we go from the joy and optimism of Palm Sunday to the foreboding of today.

I experienced this service much differently this year (as I have with every service for the last, oh, eight months or so).   Instead of being able to allow my spirit to become disquieted and meditate on the humbleness and suffering of Jesus, I spent my time chasing a babbling baby and giggling quietly while she patted her friend Robert on the head as if to say, “Why are all the big people so downcast, Friend?”

Once again, child-rearing and motherhood have drawn my heart closer and differently to Christ.  I never know exactly how or when it will hit, but this time it started during the opening hymn –  When Jesus Left His Father’s Throne:

Sweet were His words and kind His look,
When mothers round Him pressed;
Their infants in His arms He took,
And on His bosom blessed.
Safe from the world’s alluring harms,
Beneath His watchful eye,
Thus in the circle of His arms
May we forever lie.

I think there is something so powerful in the image of mothers pressing in and offering Christ their children.  It is what I do every night when I put Adeline to bed.  It is what Matthew does every time he carries Adeline to the altar during communion.  It is what we, her godparents and the rest of the church did when she was baptized and marked as Christ’s own forever.  I imagine Him cradling my daughter and my heart burns with love for Him and for her.  The love and joy that I pray she will someday feel for her Savior is only possible by the suffering He felt today.  There is much more and worse to come.

Tomorrow He is crucified.  Tomorrow  He is crucified for my sweet Adeline, my fallen and redeemed Adeline.

Dear family, I urge you to attend the remainder of Holy Week services.  The temptation to celebrate only the joyous occasion of Easter is easy to rationalize.  The commitment of time to attend services four days in a row is easy to make excuses for, but God himself was  not too busy to become the lowest of the low for you . The joy of Easter means naught without the suffering of  Thursday, Friday, and the sorrow of Saturday.  Those three days would mean defeat without the resurrection of Sunday.  They are all important and I pray that you will be blessed by all of them.

 Down from my soapbox I come to wish you peace and love.

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