What began in ashes,
declarations signed into our souls,
dwelling there still,
the cross carried heavy upon us. Within us.
The disciplines, day by day,
carrying us deeper into the mystery of the moment
Basin, towel, and the discomfort of intimacy.
Ponder more the humility, washing another, towel in hand,
or one’s own feet
in the hands of another,
all imperfections laid bare,
scars and nails and callous.
The sacredness of serving, but ever more so in being served,
the dirt falling away from perhaps a stranger’s touch,
a stranger’s care.
Do we understand any more than Peter,
our limited vision of it, the pale reflection,
the very nature of love transforming,
the new commandment that takes
all we know of love,
infuses all we know of love,
the love of Christ now in its fullness dwelling?
To love as Christ loves,
our minds disquieted as the bare truth
unfolds within us,
the power of meaning, seizes us to stillness,
of all that needs to change,
and we take one step,
tentative, feeling our way along,
blinded now by darkness, all silence,
as the familiar, what Lenten color remains, leaves,
leaving us on our own,
before an altar stripped of all familiarity,
with nothing more to do,
and everything to do, everything.
And one long night becomes the day dawning,
the cross there casting its shadow,
even in the near darkness,
the shadow, always the shadow.
The readings come,
we feel them chill upon our necks,
our heartbeat, our breaths
surprise us with their presence.
The readings, the readings,
the false trial, the denials, the cock crowing,
the scourging, stripping, beating, bleeding.
And one final cry:
It is finished!
It is finished, yet, and yet we find ourselves moving,
walking, kneeling, praying, weeping
before the cross.
In stillness. In darkness.
The promised dawn
lifting our eyes from despair.