For Christians it is the day in-between. We have had the the Footwashing, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, Calvary. As I have said a number of times on this blog we have the advantage of knowing how the story ends. We know who won't be in the tomb when the women arrive tomorrow morning. We should not forget our privileged position of awareness- nor try to read it back into the original story. I saw a church sermon title for tomorrow that did that.
Afraid- But Filled With Joyis what it read and I have assumed that it is trying to put those two feelings into the original disciples on Easter morning- a certain way of getting it wrong. Just as we don't need to be afraid today because of yesterday's Crucifixion, they had no sense of joy, even when the women reported the tomb empty.
Joy came later.
When we try to give definitive answers to what the events of that Holy Week (I still like Passion Week, by the way!) we will always fail. I don't care who you are or how educated you are, we cannot get into the First Century mindset to understand what it meant then, let alone what it means today.
I came to that realization sitting in church on Thursday evening in the silence prior to the start of the Maundy Thursday Footwashing and Eucharist. I wanted to be there and it was a calm, refreshing and renewing place to be. I thought about all the 40 years as a pastor on this evening or the years when I was first a Christian and went to the Good Friday services. I pondered the changes in the service, as the pastor said, since in most of those years there was no such thing as a footwashing service. We did those things as a "Camp-thing" but few would have thought of that for a Maundy Thursday experience.
I remembered our Moravian Lovefeasts or Tenebrae services of darkness. I reflected on the words of the liturgy:
But if you had asked me what this all means to me today, I couldn't have answered you. Nor would I have tried. I know far, far less today than I have ever known; I have far fewer final answers than I have ever had or been given. I don't need to know the answers anymore. I don't need to believe some iron-clad, no-way-around-it theology or theological ideology. I know these words express a deep, personal and universal reality. I know there is truth, no, there is Truth here that I will never grasp with my head or logic.
- Do this
- My body
- My blood
- In remembrance
- Until He comes
Nothing about this is logical. Nothing about this makes any intellectual sense in spite of what many want to find. What makes the words of Jesus and the actions of God so powerful to me today is that they don't have the same narrow meaning they may have had 2000 years ago. They are words that lead us to something far more than I can ever grasp.
Because the spiritual reality that I can fully understand will not be the spiritual reality of God. God is greater than that. God speaks in each time and each place. The events in an Upper Room, a Garden or on the garbage hill of Jerusalem in 30 AD are actions of God. No doubts there. They are part of a Truth that I will never humanly understand.
So all I can do is thank God for what God has done and is doing for me and for all. All I can express is what I have seen and heard and received.
- God's love.
Thanks be to God!