Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Maundy Thursday: An Eternal Buzz?

Do you see the bees?  There are two of them, along with hundreds of their sisters and dozens of butterflies, the whirring of wings all covering, hovering, shimmering, and pollinating the enormous lychee trees in our yard here in Hong Kong.

It's the Thursday before Easter, called Maundy Thursday in liturgical tradition, but which I grew up calling by its German name, Gr√ľndonnerstag or Green Thursday.  In most of the inhabited world, the earth is greening about now.  My farming forefathers and mothers would have been harvesting the earliest garden produce: asparagus, spinach, scallions.  In tropical climates, the dry season is ending; in the northern world, spring has come.

In the church calendar we celebrate an event today, which we Christians believe forever pierced through, and changed the cyclical rhythms of life and death and life and death again.  The whirring of wings on this day corresponds to a heavenly disruption, as Jesus held out a chalice, for even his betrayer to drink.  Jesus broke some bread, and insisted that those who eat this bread, will live on in a shimmering eternity.

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
                                           -- Jesus, quoted in John's Gospel 6:51

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