Maundy Thursday

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Wow, can you believe it’s already Maundy Thursday? It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that I deciding what to give up for Lent. Okay, I’m a bad (good?) procrastinator and it actually wasn’t that long ago that I was deciding what to give up for Lent. There are a lot of good meditations on what Maundy Thursday means. This is not one. (You can find one here)

The triduum is upon us. It’s a great time of year when Episcopalians and other liturgical churches get to break out the obscure jargon that’s known for making us so approachable. So just in case you were unaware, ‘maunday’ comes from the same root word as ‘mandate’ referring to when Jesus told people to do this in remembrance of me and to love one another as he had loved them.

But Maundy Thursday is also when remember Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and therefore today is that great day when churches across the nation offer free pedicures. Of course by pedicures I mean, they’ll rinse your feet off with water that, if you’re lucky, they’ve heated up a tad. (I suppose seminaries and cosmetology schools don’t offer much in the way of collaboration) But if you’ve ever gotten to participate in one of these services, the symbolism remains – having the church you adore wash the scummiest part of your body, resisting the urge to say, “no, thanks, I can take care of myself here,” and putting what is most vital and vulnerable into the hands of God. 
 
As someone who has hiked in the dessert with Chaco sandals, I can attest to how quickly nastiness probably built up on Jesus’ disciples’ feet. Which is why this evening when I go up to get my feet washed, I’m doing my best to make sure they’re not pre-pedicured dainty feet that I work for during sandal season, but dirty, hairy toed (that’s right- I just admitted that I have hairy toes) and as despicable as I can muster. You know, to make it more true to life.

If I do become a clergyperson, I’m really going to regret writing this.

Stuff Episcopalians Like #1

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Welcome to the first installment of Stuff Episcopalians Like. You might have heard of Stuff White People Like or it’s spin-off Stuff Christians Like. Plus I was reading Rachel Held Evans blog about ways to make Arminians cool and one was to start a “Stuff Arminians Like” page, and I don’t even know who Arminius was. However, here I’ll put on my amateur anthropologist hat and look at the habits and idiosyncrasies that tend to be so prevalent in our tradition. 

Today’s Stuff Episcopalians Like:
Holy Week Lunches

I used this one because today when I arrived at work and went to the kitchen to get the first of many cups of coffee, I found the kitchen crowded with women warming their casseroles and rolls and mixing their salads. And the parish hall is decked out with white linens and modest centerpieces:

The idea is simple: We have a downtown church and a lot of professionals work downtown and just have an hour for lunch break. For nothing but their presence, they get a contemplative worship service and a hearty lunch. Now in my downtown, we share this duty with the other downtown churches on different days of the week so maybe I should more accurately title this one “Stuff Mainline Denominations Like”

I know a guy who used to be a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama. One day for his lunch break, he attended one of these lunches and services at the Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Advent, felt moved, yada yada yada, today he is an ordained priest serving as a missionary in Namibia. True story.

In fact if you’re interested in the recipes that could spiritual seduce someone so well, you can read an article in Southern Living about this particular Birmingham Cathedral’s tradition.

Next week on Stuff Episcopalians Like: Episcopal shield bumper stickers