My religious tradition celebrates the Lord’s supper the night before Passover, which is tonight, for Passover is on Monday evening (March 29). I’ll be celebrating the Lord’s supper alone this year. I have some Matzos in the cupboard, and some grape juice in the refrigerator. The only thing I lack is a person whose feet I can wash. I’m not going to ask a random stranger if I can wash his feet, since that’s weird. And I’m not going to wash my own feet, for part of the lesson of that ritual is service to others, and serving myself misses the point. At the same time, I can remember another lesson of the foot-washing, even if I don’t do it this year: that Jesus has washed me clean, but I need him to wash me on a continual basis. I’m justified by faith, which is why God accepts me. But God’s not through working on me yet, for I still have a lot of character defects.
I’m thinking of watching a Lifetime Movie Network movie tonight right before I conduct my personal Lord’s supper. It’s called Amish Grace, and it’s based on a true story—about an Amish mother who struggled to forgive. A disturbed man who had lost his own child shot a group of Amish children in their school right before taking his own life. One of them was the child of the Amish mother. The movie is based on a book of the same name that I read a while back, and it describes how the Amish reached out to the killer’s widow. The book also went into some detail on Amish ecclesiology—how they conduct church discipline, etc.
I’d like to share a few quotes that, for me at least, are apropos for this season. The first is from this morning’s bulletin for my Latin mass:
The narrative of the Passion is read whole and without pause on the Palm Sunday of the Passion. The story, found in each of the Gospels, is unchanging. We are the ones who change. Each year, we bring ourselves with another year’s history to hear and heed the story that we so badly need.
That reminds me of something that I continually tell myself: that no matter what happens to me, or what I believe down the road, I will continue to pray and read my Bible. Even if I find some day that I don’t believe in God anymore, I will still pray and read my Bible. In certain respects, I’m not entirely the same person each year that I conduct the Lord’s supper. This year, as a matter of fact, I was seriously thinking of not doing it—maybe because of apathy, or on account of bitterness against Christianity, or a sense of my flaws. But that’s where I am. And, wherever I am in my thoughts and attitudes, I think it’s important for me to look at the life of Christ and to absorb the values that it conveys—values of forgiveness, of selflessness, of love.
That brings me to my next quote, which is from page 406 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (fourth edition):
The last big hurdle was closing the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer. As a Jew, I was uncomfortable with it and decided to talk to my sponsor about it. So I said, “The Lord’s prayer bothers me. I don’t like closing with it.” “Oh,” he said, what’s the problem?” “Well, I’m Jewish and it’s not a Jewish prayer.” “Well then,” he said “say it in Jewish.” I said, “It would still be the Lord’s prayer.” “Right,” he said. “Then say something else that you like. Your Higher Power, whatever you call it, is helping you, and you need to say thank you.”
That’s the basis of what I’ll be doing tonight—wherever I am or aren’t spiritually: to say “thank you” to God, my Higher Power. I should do that more often than I do!
For the Days of Unleavened Bread, I’m not going to remove all leavening from my apartment, for I’m not big on wasting food. But I’ll be eating my share of Matzos and Triscuits. And I don’t plan to eat any leavening this week. I also hope to watch my Moses movies, which I’ve written about during past Days of Unleavened Bread: see My Moses Marathon, Moses Marathon Awards, and Bithiah. I won’t be doing a Moses marathon this year, but I hope to watch part of a Moses movie each Day of Unleavened Bread, and to write something about it on my blog. I may miss some days, but we’ll see how it goes! Stay tuned!