I read the foot washing text in our Maundy Thursday service, I served communion, and I snuffed out the candles, one by one, reminding us of the darkness between the betrayal and the resurrection, the darkness of the crucifixion.
And then I came home and I read the Aunt Beast chapter of A Wrinkle in Time to the family. Meg is in despair. Her father, the person she had counted on to save her, has disappointed her. Charles Wallace, the baby brother who is more than he seems to be is caught up in the forces of evil. And Meg has just been through the darkness, been frozen by the the evil of the Dark Thing. She must be thawed and warmed and fed by “Aunt Beast” before she can face her father and Calvin and the possible loss of of Charles Wallace.
The choir sang “Were you there” while the chancel was stripped. I snuffed out the candles. We heard the words of the mandatum: Love one another. The pastor snuffed the Christ candle. And we left in silence. Jesus has been betrayed and crucified and we leave him on the cross or in the tomb until Easter morning, when we will proclaim: He is risen. Because we know what the next chapter holds.
I finished the chapter with an angry Meg, terrified for her beloved little brother, and with the words of Mrs. Which: Wwweeee aaarrre hhhheeeerrre. There is hope because the 3 ladies, the guardian angels, the Messengers of God have arrived. But I am the only one who knows how the book ends.
The kids–and the spouse who has never read it–will have to wait until tomorrow to find out how Charles Wallace (and he is a Christ figure) will be saved. And all of us will wait until Sunday to proclaim “He is risen” and to sing “Alleluia.”
I didn’t plan the timing, but this literature doctor cum church staffer kind of loves it.