The clock just turned past midnight - it is officially my birthday. I've got a cup of tea to help me stay awake this one more hour - but I'm not sure I needed it, for I find myself curiously wide awake.
Tonight, we had our Maundy Thursday service at the church. If you don't know this, it is the last night that Jesus got to spend free and with his disciples. It is the evening of the foot-washing, the Last Supper when Jesus defined the Eucharist as representational of his body and blood, and when he sat right next to and shared food with his betrayer. I find it a bit sad and strange that this particular service is not well-attended. It is all about the ritual that is central to our worship - Communion. This is where it began.
A big storm moved in during the service. The lights seemed low and the large, yawning space of soaring roof and stained glass felt cozy in the evening storm - safe. After the service, but before the recessional, we stripped the altar. The cloth was removed. The candlesticks taken back to the sacristy. There is nothing left but a bare table with no adornment at all but for the cross that hangs above it, a stark reminder of what is about to happen 2017 years ago.
And now, it is midnight. It is the hour I chose to sit vigil - to wait with Jesus during his darkest night. He knew... about Judas. About the soldiers in the morning. About all that was to follow a kiss from one of his closest friends. He didn't want any of it, asked that it not happen, but accepted it anyway. So I sat and waited too. I read all four versions of this night as remembered in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Most were quite short and not terribly detailed, but Luke spelled it out.
For me, this was like time travel... I sat with him when his own friends and disciples slept. I sorrowed for his morning as I looked forward to my own future. How different we are, and yet how much the same. At the end of my hour of vigil, I turned off my light, knowing that I did what I could and slept soundly until my alarm went off this morning.