Maundy Thursday - tradition and innovation
As I move with my congregation through the extremely complicated work of renewal - trying to rebuild an old power church into a community of equals in an open and affirming spirit - Maundy Thursday has taken on a great deal of symbolism for me. First, it is becoming clear that this work is much more about kneeling rather than being in charge. This doesn't come easy to ANY of us - especially the former elite - but it is the spirit of the hour for more and more of us. Not completely - and certainly not without resistance - but more and more people - new and old - are sensing we are being called by the Living God to SERVE one another. What a blessing.
Second, this day is about more than the old words: it is about looking at life from the perspective of those who have been wounded the most. My church leaders ache to make this real here; there are those who resist, but the leadership is so ready to find new ways of being servants that it makes me weep. When we sang, "Go to Dark Gethsemane" tonight, we were all in tears because this hymn is more than a sentimental look backwards. It is where we are as a community of faith. Grieving the past, embracing the present and trusting that God is in control of the future.
And third, this Maundy Thursday is all about paradox - both/and rather than either/or - and today there is among us a sense that there is really a place at the table for all of us. Last year it was mostly bullshit - talk and hope, jumping through the old words - but now there is a real place and embrace for all people. Tonight they were reading... and leading... and fully engaged in the heart of the community - alongside many who have been around forever. So, for me it felt like Paul said: we were old and young, rich and poor, gay and straight, Jew and Gentile, street and middle class, male and female, rich and poor. And it was beautiful... Passover matzo from a local rabbi, hand washing to honor our Passover cousins... Jesus on his knees - sisters and brothers on their knees, too - as equals. I give thanks to God for these courageous and faithful souls. They are bringing blessings to this little community... and all I can thing is ELEVATION!