Maundy Thursday

Theme: A people of the Temple follow Christ in the way of suffering love

Mark 14
(excerpts; fresh translation)

On the first day of unleavened bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed,
two of Jesus’s disciples entered Jerusalem and prepared the Passover feast.
When evening fell, Jesus and the Twelve came.
They reclined and ate.

After the singing of hymns,
they went out to the Mount of Olives, to a place called Gethsemane.
Jesus began to feel frightened and distressed.
He said, “Wait here and keep watch.”

He went a little farther, fell on the ground, and prayed.
He was saying, “Abba (Father)…
You can do anything… Take this cup from me…
But let it be as you will, not what I will…”

A troop of armed men came, sent by the religious authorities.
Judas, one of the Twelve, was with them.
They grabbed hold of Jesus and arrested him.
He said to them,
“Why have you come out after me with swords and clubs, like I’m a bandit?
I was with you every day in the temple, preaching.
You didn’t see fit to arrest me then.”

All the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus was led away to the religious authorities.
They were looking for testimony to justify putting him to death.
Some witnesses claimed,
“We heard him say:
I will destroy this temple, made by hands,
and within three days build another, made not by hands.”

Some of those present began to spit on him.
They covered his face, so he couldn’t see,
then punched him and said, “Prophesy!”
Then they turned him over to the guards,
who continued to beat him.


Photo by Ronny Light. The Garden of Gethsemane today.


The way Mark tells the story,
I get the impression that you spent today lying low,
slipping into Jerusalem as it grew dark.
You share with your disciples the meal
that commemorates God’s freeing your ancestors from slavery.
It’s supposed to be a celebration.

Later that night, you go out to the Mount of Olives,
across from the Temple Mount.
Passover starts on a full moon, so I imagine it’s a bright night.
You know what’s coming, and it frightens you.
You ask God to save you,
but you accept that that’s not going to happen.

Then it starts.
You lose control of the situation.
You are at the mercy of people who have no mercy.
They can do what they want to you.
No one can help you.
And you are going through it alone,
because your disciples either deserted you or betrayed you.

I pray for everyone who, right now, is frightened.
I pray for everyone who, right now, is asking God to save them.
I pray for everyone who, right now, feels helpless.
I pray for everyone who, right now, feels alone or deserted.
I pray for everyone who, right now, is being abused.

I should do something today—one thing at least—
to turn one of those prayers into concrete action.

About this Lenten reflection

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