aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Maundy Thursday

Well, I'm back in the land of the living -- more or less. Two good nights' sleep under my belt. Things are looking up. Tonight is Maundy Thursday, though, and I haven't come up with any really spiffy plans for the evening service.

But then, I don't think I really have to. I mean, special liturgies or special music or seders or whatever are neat things for a major occasion like Maundy Thursday -- but not really necessary. A simple eucharist is as good as one tricked out with big words or special meditation. After all, it's him they're coming for, him they're hungry for.

The urge to decorate the inherently valuable is an old human trait. Saints' bones were encased in gold reliquiaries, where were themselves works of art. We put beautiful paraments on our altar tables and pulpits, to call attention to what takes place there -- but which inevitably call attention to themselves as well.

Some years ago, I was doing a baptism at a camp's lake, and the eager caretaker had enclosed an area of the water with wooden stakes and pink caution tape and added a depth gauge. I was horrified at the aesthetics of it. I removed them; he was hurt. But I saw us consecrating the entire, beautiful lake as holy water for the act of this baptism; he saw only the action up close as a precious thing to be embroidered about with his helpful enhancements.

The special music, the testimonies, the choral performances, incense (for those who use it), candles and whatnot can all be used to heighten the wonder and majesty of worship. But simply piling on more goodies doesn't make the service more special. For it is Christ who makes it special in the first place. And if the extra things we do call attention to him and present him for our soul's need, that's great. But merely cluttering up the liturgy with cool stuff can distract us from our worship of him and our encounter with him.

So, if all I've got tonight -- all I've got time to plan -- is bread and wine and the same, good old words, well that's enough. For we will have Christ there to honor and remember, and he will meet us faithfully -- as he always does.

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