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The evening of Holy Thursday is one of the most sacred thresholds

in the Christian calendar. We gather at table in a unique way,

feeling the very thirst for human community

that Jesus voiced when he said,

“I have earnestly desired to share this meal with you.” (Luke 22:15)

In echo and imitation we break bread, wash one another’s hands,

then strip the altar bear, returning home in silence, in darkness,

as the hours of testing begin.

As day turns into night, we turn inwardly into the silence,

the heart of darkness, the tender underside of life,

the not knowing that is part and parcel of life’s mystery.

Gethsemane. The dark night.

Here again Jesus turns to his closest companions,

who struggle even with the simplest plea: “Stay with me.”

This year we cannot gather, but we can earnestly desire.

We can mark the moments of passage that lead us into the darkness,

and we can stay there, without words.

We can ask for eyes to see.

And we can wait until we know what to do.

Through these days and the darknesses that they bring,

may we stay in the space of inner emptiness and engage the prayer of waiting.

Old assumptions will shrivel and die, and our certainties may melt around us;

yet we can remain, for a tender moment, in the stillness

that is the only place of real knowing.

May we be faithful to the prayer of waiting.

In that prayer, we learn presence.


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