Holy Thursday 2011
Holy Thursday marks the entrance into the marvelous Easter Triduum in the Paschal cycle. It marks the night Jesus of Nazareth (a מָשִׁיחַ of the so-called “Age of Pisces”) ate his last supper with his apostles in Jerusalem, celebrating Passover. After that, he entered the garden of Γεθσημανἰ at the foot of the Mount of Olives to pray that, if it be God’s will, to please let the cup of suffering pass from his lips. That was not God’s will, so, in the morning, he was arrested, and he spent Friday being crucified. Passover, or פֶּסַח, marks the night of the tenth plague, the slaughter of the firstborn, in Egypt. The Hebrews were passed over, as they had spread the blood of slaughtered spring lambs over their doors. Thus did they gain their freedom. The Hebrews ate the lamb and quickly prepared unleavened bread before leaving Egypt the next day, under the leadership of Moses (a מָשִׁיחַ of the so-called “Age of Aries”).
We read of the story of Passover in Exodus, we read of the graciousness and salvation of the Lord in Psalm 116, we read of the last supper in 1 Corinthians, and we read of the washing of feet in John.
The priest spoke many times emphasizing service- he washed the feet of laypersons, and he reiterated that priests are no better than laypersons- priests are their servants, in fact. Jesus knew that we must be servants, and love one another. We must always go the extra mile for others, treating them with utmost love and respect. Peter, at first, had some strange idea that Jesus should be superior to him and did not want to let Jesus wash his feet, but Jesus told him that would mean Peter would have no part with him. I will emphasize as well:
Service is the glory of God
Service is the glory of God
Service is the glory of God!
There was much incense and there were bells and cups and oils and crosses and a much more decorated table for communion than usual. The priest told us that we are very lucky, if we have tables upon which to eat, as so many in the world do not. Every time we eat, it is a holy communion with God. Indeed I give thanks every time I eat. I am grateful to the universe for having provided nourishment to me.
God seems to be responding to one of my prayers- that there should be more percussion in my church. There were bongos! I love bongos. (Still, whoever was on trapset was acting like a dull old metronome. I guess people are still reluctant to accept more. For now.) We sang of our oneness and unity with God. We sang of discovering the presence of God. We sang of the beauty of the body of God. That piece featured barefoot laypersons dressed all in white who performed a few simple Yoga poses and interpretive dance at one with each other and the rhythm.
Lastly, we entered holy procession. We took candles and walked around the block singing a mantra. This, of course, reminded me of ancient theatrical phallic processions. While I love a good penis parade, I think a candle procession is also wonderful. A lingam represents the fecund aspect of the universe, and I think a candle also makes an excellent lingam- it is fairly well the same shape, and besides such trivial matters as form, it also bears flame. Flame is a far more primordial lingam of creation in the universe than a fleshy human penis, which did not come along until billions of years after fire. Not that such makes either fire or a penis superior or inferior to the other; both are lovely. This particular procession was meant to symbolize the walk to the Garden- once it was Adam in Eden, then it was Jesus in Gethsemane. Now, it is- now.
A few saw the hundreds of us walking around the neighborhood in the dark bearing our light. We shared our light with one another whenever a slight gust of wind would blow some out. Our mantras drifted in and out of unison with one another as we spread apart and grew closer together.
The mantra was, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” This triggered both positive and negative feelings and judgments within me, though I know the real me is beyond judgment. All sorts of ideas and thoughtforms shot their electricity through my mind.
I thought to myself that this mantra is, on the one hand, somewhat flawed, as it implies a sense of future tense and a sense of lack. We are asking Jesus to remember us when, as though it has not happened yet. For some, this may instill a sense of longing and being out of the present moment. Yet I know I need have no longing, so the mantra need not be negative for me. There is no such thing as the future, and I am in the kingdom already.
Also, we are asking Jesus to remember us when, as though we think he does not remember us all the time in the first place, which of course he does. Yet I also think this mantra was positive… for some may feel out of alignment, and, though through seeking one shall never find, some are seeking, and are asking to find, and I think it is fine to seek to be in alignment- for, in so doing, we may some day receive the realization that we already have it.
I also like this mantra because, while I already live in the Eternal Kingdom, I too long for the kingdom mentioned in Revelation- in which we all live in the perfect wholeness of Love. The world in which there is no want or need because we are all sharing and the world has become a utopia. I know that such longing is out of the now… still, I can’t help but think that everyone loving one another would be an excellent way for the world to function. But the now, the journey, is far more important than any goal.
I was fairly early on in the procession, so, when we came back around to the church, I had a long time to stand still at the church steps waiting for everyone else to arrive, with the priest bearing a cross at the rear. I stood there singing as everyone gradually gathered together with their flames. I sang the mantra dozens of times. As I did so, I came into That Place again with Ganymede- or Christ, considering the mantra, or whomever- in which I realized again the Eternal Now, because past, future, and time, seemed so illusory, as though they did not exist at all, and never had. There was no remembrance of past or striving for future, only a focus on the now, a focus on singing my mantra and keeping my flame alive. There was no focus on somehow becoming better, or satisfying my ego- only a focus on the present.
It was just as when the laypersons had carefully arranged the table for communion, folding the many cloths with careful attention, and with no sense of yearning for the future. In that moment I felt as though I were a palm frond connected to a much larger palm frond, but being both palm fronds at the same time. I felt the One Life, the organism of the universe itself, at once all around me and within me. It is an amazingly immense and pretty much indescribable feeling. Such moments are win. Such moments are, as Luken says, real church.
As the priest finally arrived, he set down his cross- one of those squarish crosses with a circle around it and a cylindrical triangular bottom. Our mantra gradually and organically faded down into nothing, into stillness and silence, and one by one, we silently approached the cross to touch it, pray, and perhaps kiss it. I walked home with my candle, practiced my Yoga asanas, and ate my Passover feast of unleavened bread and lamb.