Thursday, April 13
Prayer: Maundy Thursday
   Continuing our theme of considering Jesus' prayers during Holy Week, we come to the holiest night, Maundy Thursday.  The Bible tells us that they did what was the Jewish custom at Passover:  they sang Psalms.  We can read and pray Psalms; but they knew the music!  They would have sung some or all of those Psalms from 113 to 118.  I try to imagine what their voices sound like.  Did Jesus lead?  Did they harmonize?  Think of the lines in those Psalms:: "Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints" and "This is the day the Lord has made."  
   Jesus prayed over the bread and the wine, thanking God as faithful Jews always did for God's blessings of food and drink.  We can imagine his heart was heavy as he looked at the beautiful gift of bread, but as he tore it he caught a glimpse of what would happen to his body the next day; and as he peered into the ruby red cup of wine, the drink for rejoicing, he perceived in it an image of the shedding of his own blood to come.
   Jesus' praying wasn't done when supper ended.  He went out into the dark and made his way to the Garden of Gethsemane - which to this day is haunted by massive, gnarled olive trees that are centuries old.  His prayer, late and in the dark, was so intense that the Gospel tell us his sweat was like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).  The anguish of his prayer is so moving.  He emotion was in some swirl between realizing the immense sacrifice being asked of him, struggling with all his might to yield to God, his sad disappointment in his friends who were napping, clueless, and even his bearing in his heart the agony of all of humanity, struggling to do God's will, being unable, fearful, sorrowful.  That moment, that prayer, tells us all we need to know about Jesus.  His heart, one with God's heart, one with our hearts.
   Lord, Jesus' prayers on that Thursday night move us.  Join our hearts to his.  May our bodies, our blood, our sweat and tears, be one with him, and you O Lord.
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services in our sanctuary, 7:30pm.  Easter services: sunrise (7pm), sanctuary (8:30, 9:45, 11), and Jubilee Hall (Church in the Round, 8:45am). 
As you prepare to worship on Easter, ponder my blog ("A Spirituality of How We Come to Church on Easter & Christmas Eve") about how to deal with crowds, C&E people, family visiting, etc.