Friday, April 03, 2015

An emotional week.

This has been an emotional week for a lot of reasons.

It's also Holy Week for Christians (Well....maybe Orthodox Christians have it next week? I think? - I know they use a different calendar)

Yesterday was Maundy Thursday (which I look up every year and forget every year - it's from the root of Mandatum or Mendicare and is related to the sacrament of foot-washing, I guess, and it's related to "mandated.") For Christians, it commemorates the Last Supper and Christ's arrest and trial.

It's a very serious day. Not a lot of Protestant churches do much for it, I guess (at least that's what the minister said in his prefacing remarks) but some Disciples churches do. It's important to me; I like the more liturgical things and being reminded helps me.

Before last night's service, there was a 12-hour prayer vigil. (Some churches do 24-hour ones, but it's hard to get people for the overnight hours...). I had picked a time late in the day. I went down there after school, after a few upsetting things during the day. The first few minutes I just sat there and tried to be quiet. (I have a hard time being quiet and still.)  I never know what to do at these - as I said, I have a hard time staying still. I started off praying for the people I loved - I thought of a longtime family friend who recently lost her adult son, and a friend who lost her dad only a few weeks ago, and then for family, and people at church, and friends (and even a few of you who come here  - oh, just the people I thought might appreciate it, I get that some people might not. And yes, I think I can say I love you....there are different kinds of love and I try to make the default position for how I feel about someone to love them, in an agape kind of way)

And then I realized I really probably needed to pray for people I didn't like so much....including a certain two people. Oh, I don't know that it will change them, but it might change me, you know? And I did feel a little more peaceful after that.

Anyway. Ran back home, finished my piano practice, ate. Went back for the service.

I'm never quite prepared for how powerful these are. This was a Tenebraes service, which is where they slowly extinguish lights and cover things in the sanctuary until everyone leaves in darkness and silence. It was a well-done service. (I can't say it was "nice," because it commemorates one of the more not-nice events in Christian history, but it was meaningful to me.) We sang a lot. I like our current music minister, he is very very big on congregational singing and I think that's important.

I wound up eldering. I managed to come up with a simple prayer (and one that didn't make me cry - some years back, when I was also a little close to the edge, I referenced Christ's arrest and trial and just kind of lost my composure). We did it differently, by intinction, so I wound up holding the loaf of bread (the other elder held the cup). That was probably the "happiest" point - we were observing one of the founding events of the faith

The church gradually got darker and darker as more lights were extinguished.

During the last song (a spiritual) the minister motioned for us to start slowly moving out. There had been a request to leave in silence and contemplation, and we did - walking quietly out of the dark church into the still, humid, and storm-threatening evening.


Anonymous said...

The service at your church sounds very respectful and appropriate- wish I was close enough to a church of my 'chosen denomination' to attend services during this season, but I am far from one now-

Regarding the prayers for those who cause you agitation and discomfort, have you heard of the Buddhist practice of tonglen? In it, one accepts the pain and suffering caused by, or felt by, others and exudes a feeling of compassion and kindness toward all- here is a short (really brief and concise) reference:
Umm, just saying...
Have a good and peaceful holiday-


Nicole said...

That sounds very peaceful and moving.

Roger Owen Green said...

My Protestant churches (United Methodist, Presbyterian Church USA) have always done special music and meaningful services on Maundy Thursday.