The season of Lent presents a progression of ever-increasing opportunity when it comes to deepening our spiritual walk. Six-weeks for preparation; eight-days of Holy Week; three days if your observance begins with Good Friday.
For me, one of the most moving is “Maundy Thursday,” and the occasion of The Last Supper.
For many Christians, it’s an event that’s not really on their radar. Ash Wednesday – check; Palm Sunday – check; Good Friday – check; Easter Sunday – check; Maundy Thursday – not so much.
BENEDICTION OF GOING: So I was pleased to see so many people show up at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church Thursday evening for dinner, worship, and communion around the same tables. We enjoyed fellowship together over a good meal, we sang songs of praise, Rebekah shared a powerful message, and then we took the bread and the wine, serving one-another.
Finally – as the scriptures report of those first followers of Jesus – we sang a hymn and left in silence, a benediction of going, the lovely spring night air punctuated only by the sound of feet carrying the good news into the world.
The mixture of solemnity and joy – fellowship and communion – provides, I believe, the perfect transition from the routine of life-as-usual to today’s deep apprehension of suffering, and the shroud of grief we connect with so vividly on Good Friday.
Here is the Good Friday meditation I shared with our WFPC family:
IT IS FINISHED!
When Jesus had tasted [the wine], he said, ‘It is finished!’ Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. John 19:28-30
In 2012 Rebekah and I traveled on an amazing adventure to Cairo, Sinai, Jordan, Galilee and then Jerusalem. Essentially, we traced the geography of the biblical narrative from the Exodus through Easter.
When we finally arrived in the Holy City, we negotiated the crowded, uneven, Via Dolorosa (Way of Grief), before sharing communion at the site of the Garden Tomb.
“Jesus was likely crucified,” our guide said, “at a busy crossroads. The Romans wanted the suffering to be accessible, visceral; right in front of as many people as possible.”
“It is finished!” Jesus said as he died. In a sense, he meant that his work was completed. In another sense, Jesus intended to say, “The rest of my work has just begun…”
And that is where we come in, as followers of The Living Way. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; our opportunity is to be partners with Jesus in the rest of God’s work.
PRAYER: Gracious and generous God, help us to understand the gravity of your words, not just historically, but for us, personally. Teach us your way, so we may walk in your truth. Amen.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.