Friday, April 10, 2009

Maundy Thursday, A Poem

“Maundy Thursday, A Poem”

The candle is lit. The lights are dimmed.
The service has begun.

As the melting marks our progress
We do as we are told
Among the reading and response
Watching narrative unfold

We see him set his face like flint
Toward a bitter destination
We hear his silence fill the court
Absorbing biting accusation

The void his words have left
Filled now with darker sound
The hint of kiss
  The curse of foe
    The pound of fist
      The rooster crow

I eat the bread and drink the cup
Bearing stains I can't deny
Think of blood he sweat and bled
Hear my heart shout "crucify"

The old, old story strange and new
The weight of murdered son
His dying breath is on his lips
The closing song is almost done

There. Now. It is Finished.

The room is darker now.
The smell of the snuffed out candle
Creeps toward the worshipers.
And Hope must wait for another day.

Ched Spellman 2010

Background:
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of what is called Holy Week, which commemorates the week before Jesus died (the week before Easter). At this gathering, the church takes communion and reflects on the events leading up to the crucifixion (the last supper; his trial; crucifixion). The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin word for "command" (mandatum), from the words of Jesus in John 13:34: "A new command I give you: Love one another." The service anticipates Easter Sunday, but specifically focuses on the last hours of Jesus' life and his death.

2 comments:

Korey 12:45 PM  

I wrote a paper on a poem with the exact title. This is a bit different from yours, but both are quality.

Ched,  11:54 PM  

Korey,

Thanks for pointing out Owen's poem. After reading the one you linked to, I read a few other pieces on the same theme. It is interesting to see the different reflections from varying traditions/perspectives.

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