Yesterday, an acquaintance wished me Happy Maundy Thursday Eve. I was amused, and also appreciated the sentiment. She has recently learned exactly what Maundy Thursday is. She’s the sort of person who would probably have some interesting things to say about the occasion; perhaps I should invite her along next year. I was thinking, yesterday, that waiting for Maundy Thursday is – for me – like waiting for Christmas. Maybe she knew that.
Easter is my favourite religious holiday, and Maundy Thursday is my favourite day in Holy Week. It’s 11:30 p.m.; traditionally, I stay up until midnight and wait for Christ to be arrested. I got hooked on this tradition by a priest I now dislike intensely. Tradition, though, has won out over my feelings for the idiot.
Maundy Thursday begins with a Seder dinner, is followed by a Seder (Christian, not Jewish), and ends with a Garden Watch. The Garden Watch is where you’re supposed to stay up with Jesus for a while, ’cause he asked if someone would stay awake with him (Matt. 26:40). A small group of us have taken this literally, and actually sit outside in the garden.
Our church has a garden, but it also has a cemetery. Sixteen months ago, a friend of ours drank herself to death. She’s buried in the cemetery. Tonight, we took our wine and our chocolate out to the cemetery. We sprinkled sparkly things on her grave (she was a very sparkly sort of person) and sat outside in the dark. Yes, it’s cold and a little uncomfortable but when you think about what we’re supposed to be thinking about (being arrested and crucified – it’s okay; we’re Christians, not masochists), it’s not so bad. Things seem very real, very clear, when you’re outside in the dark.
The rest of them gave up early, citing such things as their small children who will have them up before sunrise. I came home to find another acquaintance had posted some pictures of a trip to Tierra Santa. Weird. Really Weird. A Jesus theme park. Statues of Roman guards sitting at the foot of the Cross. If you look here, it will show you what the place looks like.
I suppose, though, it’s no weirder than me staying up past my usual bedtime, waiting for some arbitrary hour when some potentially fictional event occurred…
…no, no matter how I look at it, Tierra Santa is still weirder than Anglican tradition….
Actually, a lot of things seem really weird at this hour of the night.
Maybe I’ll give up two minutes early and just go to bed.
Wait, I have to brush my teeth.
Do you think Jesus minds if I brush my teeth while he’s getting arrested?
Goodnight, dead people.