This post is part of the Holy Week 2013 series.
Today is Maundy Thursday of Holy Week.
In church tradition, it’s the day when we remember the Last Supper of Jesus, the event of his washing his disciples’ feet, his final teaching words and prayer, and then his arrest, when all his friends scattered.
It’s the day, in church tradition, when the altar is stripped and left bare … just as Jesus was.
On this day — today — I can’t stop thinking of my experience of Maundy Thursday last year. It was our first Holy Week as a part of our little episcopal parish, which means it was our first time attending a Maundy Thursday foot-washing service and a Maundy Thursday service for the stripping of the altar.
It was the first time I’d heard of the vigil at the altar of repose.
In our tradition, this is a vigil that runs the whole night, with various members of the church body showing up to carry the hours. It’s meant to symbolize our willingness to watch and wait and pray with Jesus, just as he asked Peter, James, and John to do on the final night of his freedom.
This year, I signed up for 3 a.m. slot. Just like I did last year. Except last year, I slept through my alarm.
I keep thinking about that today — the way I fell asleep on Jesus, just as Peter did. I can’t help but wonder if tonight’s events will run the same.
I hope not.
Tonight, I hope to wake in the dead of night and drive myself over to the Alleluia Chapel at my church and sit in the presence of Jesus, staying awake with him in his hour of need. I hope not to leave him alone. I hope for my presence with him to be a blessing and comfort.
I hope to be someone who stays.