Holy Week as a Deacon: Maundy Thursday

10.05am

After a slightly shaky start to the day (I can’t find my house keys and I’m teething- yes, teething!), things are looking up as I’ve got a vanilla latte in hand and have consumed an almond croissant.

11.14am

Disaster has struck in the church office. We’ve noticed that a fake Holy Trinity Formby website has appeared online and the photocopier has frozen when we’ve got hundreds of notices, orders of service, Bible study notes and sermon scripts to print. I’ve sent a ‘please take down this website’ email via the fake site and an engineer has been called to see to the photocopier but they might not come until Tuesday. Brilliant.

4.28pm

Crisis avoided, the photocopier technician came and sorted it out-phew! The website issue will have to wait until this week is over though.

I’ve since come home for lunch via the pharmacy to buy Bonjela and ibuprofen. If I’m honest, the wisdom tooth is definitely making me grumpier and more miserable.

6.20pm

Look at this bowl of gorgeous! My husband is a star who cooks me my favourite risotto when I’m need cheering up! I’m feeling much more nourished and ready for the evening service now.

7.20pm

Tonight we’re stripping the altar table. We will have bread and wine on it, like Jesus did the day before he died. Then, knowing that shortly afterwards Jesus was betrayed, arrested and taken into custody, we will take all the decorations off and church will look very plain.

10.56pm

Here is the table with no cross, candles or cloth. The sculpture behind is particularly poiniant tonight in Holy Trinity. The twelve gather round the table as Jesus breaks the bread, saying that his body will be broken for them in the same way. I love looking at the disciples. All 12 are there. Some are captivated, some stare off into the distance. If you look really carefully, you can spot Judas. He’s on the right, holding a money bag. It could symbolise that he was the treasurer of the group, or that he was given 30 silver coins by the Pharisees just before hand, or both.

Either way, when they finish the meal, Judas disappears while the others go to pray. Jesus asks them to all wait up with him, but they can’t. They fall asleep. He goes off to pray and asks God to take it away, to make it all better, so that he won’t have to die. Then he prays not my will but yours. Even though the Father had the most difficult task for him, Jesus still trusted that he knew best.

Eventually, Judas comes and lets the soldiers know who Jesus is by kissing him. He uses an act that should be intimate and indicate reverence to hand him over to his death.

The disciples run. Peter watches from a distance and when people recognise him as one of his disciples, he denies it. Again. And again. As Jesus predicted.

One night at The Hop Pole where I used to work during my A levels, I was coming to the end of a particularly busy shift. I was really tired. I’d had enough and wanted to go home. One of my colleagues who I went to Primary School with was polishing cutlery with me and asked, ‘Poppy do you still do all that church stuff?’. To my shame, I said ‘no, not really’, wanting to avoid any judgement or philosophically tricky conversations that might come from owning up to the truth. I knew it was wrong right away, and I was so sorry. I felt so upset and disappointed in myself. Like Peter saying that he didn’t know Jesus that Thursday evening.

In Holy week, for tonight, at least, things have turned dark, and the shadow of the cross is looming large.

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