I wrote this last year, but never published it. Maundy Thursday is rolling around soon and I think it still applies.
I have felt the kindess of hospitality, of meals shared with friends. I have felt the lonliness of long nights and the betrayal of ones close to me. I have denied my association with friends when it was advantagous to me. I have cared for people when they were in crisis. I have washed my hands when I should have used them to stop an injustice. I have watched friends suffer from the loss of loved ones. I have (not often enough) set aside my desires for the good of others. In all these ways I find the myself in days leading up to Christ’s crucifixion.
I atteneded a tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday. As we entered the sanctuary there were lit cadles. As the scriptures were read to follow the stations of the cross a light was snuffed out until, with the crucifixion, we were left in total darkness. We exited in silence.
I realized as I was driving home that I feel Christ’s compatriots, their emotions, deeply and freshly. I empathize with their loss, I confess to be unfaithful as they were. What I also relized is that this is, too often, where my experience ends. The feeling of leaving that service in silence and darkness has pervaded my experience with Christ in the last few years. I have lived a sort of christian half-life. I am stuck in the darkness of the crucifixion. I, like the disciples, have mourned the loss of the presence of Jesus, the presence that I once knew and now feel sometimes without.
It is a hard place to be and a place that lingers in-spite of my vain attempts to shake off the shadows. I am working to find my way out through God’s grace and perseverance in my life. Ready for Christ’s resurrected light.