Last night: Maundy Thursday, "maundy" from a word meaning commandment. Jesus gives us the new commandment, to love one another, so people will see how much God loves them.
Grace Episcopal Church and Iglesia Episcopal Betania (Bethany Episcopal Church) continue their life together by sitting down to supper. The tables are set up in the church, in the shape of a "T" cross. During the supper we hear the story of the Passover, from Exodus 12:1-14. After supper, we hear the gospel of John 13:1-17, 31b-35, of how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, to show them HOW we are to love one another and all people. We are to become servants of all people. We are not to behave any more highly than our master, Jesus, who, as a slave, washed the disciples' feet.
After, a child reads the words of the institution of the Last Supper from 1Corinthians 11:23-26. We say our prayers for the world, confess our sins, are forgiven, and pass the peace with one another. We hear again the story of the last supper, bless the bread and wine, and share the body and blood of Christ.
The scriptures say, of the disciples after the supper,
"Then they sang a hymn and went out to the garden to pray.
Despues de cantar los salmos, salieron al monte de los Olivos."
So the people begin to read the psalms that would have been traditional after such a supper: 113 through 118. As they pray these psalms together, in both English and Spanish, the altar guild is busy stripping the church of all ceremonial religious items. The tabernacle, in which the bread and wine is reserved for taking to the sick, is emptied - Jesus is not there. They are placed on the side chapel altar and draped. On Good Friday, at the evening service, all of these remains of consecrated bread and wine will be consumed.
On Good Friday morning, the children will come together from Iglesia Betania, Iglesia San Lucas y San Pablo Bridgeport, and Grace, for the Walk to Easter - a pageant from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection, in which all the children participate. Meanwhile, the adults will meditate on the Seven Last Words of Christ.
I wonder how many people realize what was done 2000 years ago, which we remember, which we re-member, relive, every year? It is now a cliche to say that without taking part in the Holy Week services, including the Great Vigil of Easter Saturday night, Easter Day service is just another Sunday service.
All I can say is, no adult who comes on Good Friday morning to the Walk to Easter remains unchanged as the children take up the cross, lay it on their shoulders, and together walk to the tomb. And what they see there will have to wait for another post.