...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I Dreamed a Met a Galilean (parts four and five)

April 5: Maundy Thursday

Thursday evening Chris, Matt, and I went to the Maundy Thursday service at my church, First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Portland. I'm not going to pull any punches: I hated it. Hated, hated, hated. They took the readings out of what must have been a paraphrased children's Bible or something, which made it not only highly colloquial (at first I thought they were reading from the New Living or something) but also allowed them to skip over all difficult theological points--and, oh you know, the whole thing about Jesus being the Son of Man. I felt like Mary Magdalene at the tomb: "They've taken my Lord, and I don't know where they've laid him." Maundy Thursday is one of the most significant and meaningful days of the Christian calendar, and I felt that they treated it very disrespectfully; it was like a slap in the face. It made me not want to go to the UCC anymore, and indeed, I skipped the Easter service at my own church and went with Chris to the service at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

April 6: Good Friday

Good Friday has become one of the hardest days of the year for me. It's very sad and somber spiritually, of course, but the past couple years it's also always marked some kind of emotional upheaval. Last year on the afternoon of Good Friday my former roommate R. and I had--not an argument exactly, but an encounter, tense with hostility; the kind of incident that stands out in your mind when you look back over a relationship and try to figure out exactly when it turned sour. It wouldn't be accurate to say that that encounter was the beginning of the end of our friendship, and neither was it the final nail in the coffin, but on that Good Friday it was crushing and felt very, very final. I was planning that evening to go to a Good Friday service with my friend and classmate E. at her church, and we hadn't even made it out of the parking lot before I broke down sobbing. If E. was surprised or taken aback she didn't show it. She couldn't have been more understanding and supportive, and I'm deeply grateful for her understanding and prayers during that time. The sorrow of Good Friday took on an especial significance for me that day, and (I hope I don't lose my Bible Study for Hippies cred for saying this) I was thankful to be attending an evangelical church with E., where the prayers were fervent and loud and the God, personal.

Nothing so dramatic happened this Good Friday, thankfully. I was one of the readers for the 3pm Good Friday service in the Chapel, and then I went to the monthly Taizé prayer service in the evening. For the first time during Taizé, I tried kneeling during prayer (in the UCC we just remain seated) and I loved it. It was as though just the small difference in physical position made a world of difference in my emotional and spiritual orientation.