UPDATE 5/4/2020: Read the most recent statement by Bishop Mariann Budde, outlining a 4-phase plan, as developed by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. This plan goes as far as possible at present to answer the frequently asked question, “When will we be able to regather?”
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Where are you in the story of Holy Week? I confess I stole this from my friend Terri.
Are you at the table with Jesus?
Perhaps in the garden trying to stay awake?
At the Cross?
In the tomb?
Are you waiting for something to happen?
Does it feel like something unexpected?
I definitely. feel like I am in the tomb. Perhaps because it is a place of waiting. I also know that I am feeling that the way out is close.
If the tomb is only a physical place the way out is waiting for the resurrection, which for many of us is, when the physical distancing is over with.
When we as St. Mark’s is together again, when we can go and see our loved ones, when we can be in each other’s houses, when we can travel, eat out that is when Resurrection will happen.
That time may not feel all that close. A closer notion might be this, a smaller move to resurrection, one that comes in drips and drops of mercy.
What if Resurrection is not one big thing, on that specific morning? The one that we will feel far away from because it is not the opening of the tomb, it is not the opening up of our houses.
Perhaps we can see smaller resurrections by looking out. For many of us have the privilege, of working at home, sharing space with other, food and paid work. Others do not. Acknowledging this and making differences as we can are The resurrection impulses that change the world.
The Maundy Thursday service is one in which we see the compassion of Jesus on display; it is also the hospitality and the service in the world that will change everything. Jesus is setting the table for that resurrection. By washing the feet of his followers.
We ourselves are called to on this night, to wash the feet of our community. Each one of us comes up and washes another’s feet. It is an act of compassion; it is an act of service. Ultimately it is an act of Jesus, yet again turning the world upside down. The master is now the servant and the world is flipped on its ear.
We are called as a people to change the world by our love and tonight is one of those nights when we remember that by world and by action.
Yet tonight we are not together, we do not have the ability to wash each others feet, we do not have the opportunity to touch one another. You could if you were home with someone else wash each others feet, but I ask you to resist that urge. I ask instead for you to refrain, to hold back
It is in holding back we can receive powerful lessons.
Let me give you and example.
End of the service….
Wash the altar
Wash the body
I do that to care for the altar I tend in community, as a symbol of the care I hope I extend to you all.
I will miss that, and in not doing that I get to instead think of our Jewish siblings who are missing out on the care of the bodies of their loved ones, those who have died and now they are not able to care for them.
I feel like I can not be there to care for you, so I strive in different ways to be present to you all.
Some of us loose more in this time of pandemic and think of them and the Jewish community that I worked for and taught me so much feels closer in my restraint.
SO our restraint is to not care for our family in our houses so that we can instead love all of our community.
Instead during the time in which we would normally do that in this service we instead will pause. Take a moment of silence and remember instead.
Mr. Rodgers movie.
Take a minute and think of the people who have loved you into being? Into being the person that you are right now today. Who by their love and their hospitality, their compassion, helped you become who you are. To do that and think about ways that you can love others into being. How you can spark that piece of resurrection for their lives.
How do you know and see the world a new?
It is important to me to step out side of my only thoughts and fears to see the world in other eyes. In this time where we feel like we are in the tomb. Where our thinking get overrun by fear and our options feel fewer and fewer.
Those who have loved us into being give us an opportunity to bring about small resurections all the time. It is our call, it is our chance.