Walking with Jesus in Holy Week: Maundy Thursday

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered,
instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood:
Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully
in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life;
and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
John 13. 35
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It’s not until someone isn’t around that we miss all that they do.
Martin has been a servant at St. Mary’s for as long as I’ve been there. He does a lot of things behind the scenes, most so ordinary that we don’t even notice that they’ve been done. Except when they aren’t.
During Lent, Martin suffered a very painful back problem. He was on bedrest for a number of weeks, and thankfully, is now back up and about, but must use a walker to get around.
Martin has many not so little tasks that he does for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. He starts us off on Shrove Tuesday making pancakes, and finishes the great Forty Days with pancakes at the Easter Sunday breakfast. He gets the fire pit out for the burning of palms on Shrove Tuesday, then gets it out again for the Holy Fire at the Great Vigil of Easter. He retrieves the large cross we use on Good Friday and places it for all to see on Palm Sunday. He also gets the cross ready that we use for the flowering of the cross on Easter Sunday.
On Holy Wednesday, I realized that the Good Friday and Easter Sunday crosses weren’t out. We had taken Martin’s annual service so for granted, I wasn’t even sure where they were.
When we called to ask Martin, he was at physical therapy. I seemed to remember that the cross was stored in the attic. Turns out that most people didn’t even know we had an attic! I knew that it would be a task to go up there and get those cumbersome crosses down, so I told the Altar Guild directress to wait until there were some stronger folks around to do it.
I went back to my office to do my oh, so important work. Next thing I knew, I heard banging and screeching out in the hall. Three women from St. Mary’s had decided to bring the crosses down from the attic, with, I must add, no help from the rector (me!).
What these three women did is the Gospel for Maundy Thursday in action. Had I not been there with camera, no one would know the act of love they did for hundreds of people. Turns out until Martin was unable to do the service he had done so selflessly year after year, no one appreciated his act of love. These folk didn’t wash feet, but they did serve as they had been served.
An email went out last night to dozens of people asking them to help with the Easter breakfast. Though Martin believes he can make the pancakes, he’ll need a lot more help since he is less mobile right now. There are others who help with breakfast year after year, but I can’t wait to see who else will live the Maundy Thursday gospel on the Sunday of the Resurrection, especially by making breakfast (which is, of course, one of the things Jesus did for his disciples after his resurrection).
Thank you to all of the servants who share God’s love as Jesus did. Continued healing prayers for Martin, too.
Join us tonight at St. Mary’s for the Maundy Thursday Holy Eucharist which will include foot washing and will conclude with the stripping of the altar and a vigil in the (inside) prayer garden.
Join us tomorrow for the continued vigil in the garden through noon, followed by the Good Friday liturgy at noon, and Stations of the Cross at 6.30 PM, either traditional stations in the nave, or family stations in the outdoor prayer garden.

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