Holy Thursday

We all wear black and my hand shakes a little as I put in my earrings. It seems a strange thing to dress for such an occasion. At my church, we call it Maundy Thursday. There are other names for it. Holy Thursday. Preparation Day. Great Thursday. This night, we remember the betrayal. My long black skirt floats out behind me as I join my brothers and sisters to remember.
It is a subdued service. We listen to the telling of that night. We share the bread and the wine…lift our cup on this last normal day. We sing together, as they did that night. And we pray. Because our hearts and minds can go where our feet cannot, we go to Gethsemane. Here, we feel the weight of our own guilt—these sleeping lives that cannot watch and wait even for an hour. And when the kiss seals the deal—we run. We run through the night with Peter and John and the others…abandoning our Lord as soldiers lead him away from the garden.
This is where we leave him on Holy Thursday. And when we quietly walk out of the church the eye of the full moon remembers too. It is a star-drenched sky and we drive home as dark descends.
There is a shadow in my heart as well.
This is the same sky that Jesus knew, I tell my boys.
Of course it is, they say.
And when we get home we take the dogs for a walk under the round face of that moon.
This is the same moon that Jesus looked up at the night he was arrested, I tell them.
Of course it is, they say.
We talk about Passover, how the Jewish calendar followed the moon. Every year we have this same conversation. And every year it leaves me hollow.
This moon.
He looked up at it too. He waited for the full moon. Watched the sky with other Jews in anticipation of the Holy Days. We watch too—look up in the sky and are quiet as we walk.
And on Good Friday we awaken to blue sky and the lilacs blooming. The tree is still green and this son of mine comes downstairs while I’m still having my coffee and he asks this,
“Mom, what happened to Judas?”
“Don’t you know?”
I know he does. But he’s been thinking. And like his mamma, thinking means talking. So we read the scripture. And we feel sad for Judas together. And we talk about the others who betrayed that night. About the different paths these betrayers chose.
And I tell him to never be afraid to come back. Because Jesus waits for that.
Jesus waits.
And we wait too.
I’ve been hanging out with Darlene this week. Will you join us? She’s a great conversationalist.
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  1. says

    The moon has been getting to me, too.

    Our Maundy Thursday service was quite different–joyful. Passover. Washing feet. Bringing forward the oils to be used the rest of the year. The priest wore a different stole, white with a collar of many colors. The woman next to me, a teacher, said her kids call it “The Happy Stole.”

  2. says

    And you know what? When I left church in silence and the dark, I saw the same sky and moon as you, your boys and others who’ve commented the same here. And to think it is the same sky and moon Jesus gazed up to that night long ago. So glad you and your boys have conversations about these holy days. Touching!

  3. says

    I’ve thought about the moon and the sky before. And the bird sounds and the wind through His hair. And my heart aches this year because I haven’t been able to experience the season in church this week–but your words bring it home.

    I think about Judas–and I don’t see where He was called. Did I miss it? But even as Jesus chose Him, He knew He’d betray Him. And even as He chooses us, He knows we’ll hurt Him. And still He loves us.

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