Friday, April 14, 2017

Lent's (nearly) over

Last night was Maundy Thursday services. (Well, also there was a Tenebraes part to the service, to lead into Good Friday, since we don't also have a Good Friday service).

I hope no one complains our new minister is too "high church." I know people are funny that way. I don't tend to mind procedural or even some doctrinal differences in how stuff is done - I tend to feel grateful we have someone willing to fill the pulpit in such a small and poorly-funded church - but I know there are people who want things exactly the way they want them.

This service had candles and chants (well responsive singing with the congregation) and readings.

I was at the table. I was apprehensive, slightly, because we were doing a different protocol (intinction, where people come forward, rather than having deacons serve*) and also the memory of how I made myself cry some years back, partly because there were upsetting things going on in my "outside" life, partly because I got to thinking really hard about what happened 2000 years ago...People were cool about it but I don't like showing that kind of emotion publicly.

(*I am also not a huge fan of requiring people to come forward to the table, as I have relatives who have a hard time getting up and down out of a seat, and it makes it hard for them. But last night the one person I was concerned about - uses two canes - made his way slowly up to the front even though we were clear we'd walk down and serve anyone who could not come forward).

The minister also did a "symbolic footwashing" in memory of it being Maundy Thursday and the fact that Christ washed the feet of His disciples. He had invited people to come forward, and most of the readers and several people who serve in the church in various ways did (fundamentally: it was him dusting off the person's shoes with a cloth; he said he did not want to make people take off shoes and socks). I....couldn't do it. I just wasn't comfortable. I think it was a combination of my not really liking to be the center of attention when I am not actually DOING something (I can get up and pray just fine, but I see that as doing a service), and also that probably deep down I have a hard time accepting service from other people. As much as I complain about not getting help when I feel like I need it, it's probably really true that I have a hard time accepting help.

I'm glad there were "enough" people between the readers and the secretary and a couple other members.

It's interesting how the service moves: we started with the memory of the Table - the Last Supper, the Passover meal. (My understanding is, from talking to a few Jewish people, that Passover is a joyful and often slightly raucous celebration - part of it being all that wine (three or four glasses, as I remember?). But it gradually became more somber and subdued - and, as is typical of Tenebraes, the church was progressively dimmed as we went through it.

I didn't cry but I was close. I often am close during the Good Friday commemoration.

And it was remarkable how SILENT we were as we all filed out. (We were asked to depart in silence). Normally, we're a talkative group - wishing one another a good week, asking after family members who are far away, making plans to get lunch together - so it was striking how subdued it was walking out (also, at that point, the air conditioning had shut off, so it was REALLY quiet).

And it was out, once again, into a humid and rain-threatening night (We didn't actually get any rain or storms last night, but it felt like it could have). It's funny how often Maundy Thursday has been like that here.

Lent has felt very long this year. I don't think it's just the fact that I gave up desserts. (Note to self: buy unsweetened baking chocolate today). Part of it may be that Easter is kind of late, part of it may be there's just been so much bad and weird going on in the world. I'm glad Lent is almost over; I am ready for a celebration - mine will be small (taking a couple days off: this afternoon I will do big grocery shopping and also relax at home, tomorrow I plan to watch New Ponies (! the new season starts) and knit or crochet), and on Sunday I am going to fix a nice dinner and have cake and also open up the bag of fancy marshmallows I bought. And my parents sent me a box of "bunny ears" - Bissinger chocolate does dark chocolate just-the-ears and there's some old family joke about me as a toddler eating the ears off a chocolate bunny before my parents could even photograph me with it)

I also feel like I do need to get back more to doing things I WANT to do - more knitting, more sewing. This has been a difficult spring in a lot of ways, and I feel the need to get back to myself, to once again appreciating the small things of life and not worrying about some of the things I don't have or haven't done.

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