Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I signed up for the Maundy Thursday vigil at Grace. I didn't specify a time. I just wrote my name and phone number and invited the man coordinating it to assign a time to me.
At this point, apparently, I am the only volunteer.
I am pretty sure that the roster will fill up on Thursday night. Perhaps there will be a group of us sitting in Gethsemane together.
I admit that if I am alone, I have some fear about being in downtown Providence, alone at night in a huge old church. I caught a taste of anxiety when I thought about walking back to my car in the off-the-beaten-path parking lot behind the church. Or about sitting in the cavernous emptyness in the dark.
I tried to talk myself out of the fear. Tried to think I should ask for someone to watch with me. Tried to calm myself by reminding myself that God will be with me.
Then I remembered the disciples. They, too, must have been terrified. They slept from worry, it says in the bible. At least part of that worry must have been for their own skins.
Last year, I was reading the Passion of Mark in the week or so before Holy Week and just fell apart when I got to Gethsemane. I was shattered at the thought that he faced that trial alone. I was crushed to realize how much of my life I have spent sleeping or running away from him. I cried and cried about it. At S. Stephens on Maundy Thursday, I sat in the Alter of Repose for a long time. I didn't want to leave. I had not signed up, but just went after the service and sat in the darkness with a few others. Sat in the emptyness. Sat in the denial and the fear and the abandonment. Sat in the betrayal. And then, got up and walked away.
I don't know what is going to happen on Thursday, but I know this:
I will be with him.
And then I will leave.
Forgive me, Jeshua.
I love you.
Image of Gethsemane by Gwen Raverat