The Last Supper, Gethsemane, and the Betrayal all take place on the first night of Passover between sunset and sunrise. Maundy Thursday asks us to enter the moods of the night — of darkness, loneliness and doubt. This is not easy to do, but easier than the mood of Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Can we spend just a few minutes each day for three days facing our betrayal, our death, our journey into Hell, knowing on the fourth day the sun will rise and something of unknown but great promise will occur?
Inner Christmas is so easy compared to Inner Easter! Nativity and Epiphany are so filled with light, with birth, angels, joyful noises, warm and wise gifts. Inner Easter takes us to a radically more difficult and complex soul experience. See my note.
If you want to read the scriptures, and I suggest you do, get out your Bible or you can go to this evangelical site which has done a compilation of the four Gospels in a timeline that is very helpful.
Note: As I read the scriptures in preparing for shaping the questions I promised, I was humbled before the task I had set for myself, wanted to bail with apologies, and go back to listening to Wagner’s Parzifal and dyeing some eggs.
Then I realized to find within one’s own soul a living participation in the Easter Mysteries (all that occurs between the Last Supper and the Resurrection) is not a quick and simple deed nor is it dependent on ritual and recollection. It is more like an extended, many year-long, even a many lifetime-long, devotion of many questions, many doubts, many perspectives — all requiring courage. Easter courage – that is something to define and to feel.
In my despair over finding questions, a little nudge came from somewhere, and I remembered the meaning of process, of baby steps, of years of unfolding. I took a breath, felt a sigh, and remembered that this is a gentle beginning. All my work is about guiding a many-year process, not defining or completing or fixing.
Being human and becoming I requires a deep, deep, unfathomable awakening of the Christ Event within your soul. This has nothing to do with being Christian, nor does it exclude or devalue identifying yourself as a Christian in belief or practice. Neither does it exclude or devalue any non-Christian religious identities, belief or practices, in fact this awakening will enrich, strengthen and illumine your spiritual life however you define it. Even agnostics and atheists can find a profound experience of selfhood in these questions.
Finding yourself by yourself within this great, infinitely complex mystery is THE inner challenge and will take much effort, much thought, endless openess.
Each year, I will bring these Easter questions. This is the first set of Inner Easter questions. I will begin with questions at the beginning of each of the Easter “days.” Over the years we will walk slowly and reverently through the unfolding events of each day, making our way to a personal Inner Easter.
You may want to begin an Inner Easter Journal for recording your thoughts and feeling each year.
Questions for Maundy Thursday 2012:
The event of the Last Supper begins with the finding and preparing of the Upper Room.
- Do you know where in your being, your consciousness, your Upper Room is?
- What is your sense of “upper” and “room” when you imagine your soul?
- Remember it is your “I am,” your own inner divinity, that has asked you to find and prepare this room. How do you prepare this inner space for a sacred last gathering and a sacred last meal?
I want to encourage you to respond to these questions with active imagination. Begin with saying from your heart, “Take me to my upper room and show me how to prepare it.” This is not Sunday school and there are no failures or sins here.
The upper room returns again at Pentecost or Whitsun. Asking yourself wisdom-seeking questions about the upper room as an inner place of profound events could not be more important.
Tomorrow we will move to the beginning event of Good Friday.
In the freedom of Inner Easter, you may want to go for the big moments found deeper in the unfolding events: the mysteries of body and blood, the chosen betrayer, Gethsemane, the kiss of betrayal, and the arrest. If you choose to do this, I urge you to begin your contemplation with writing down a question that asks how this aspect of the Easter Mysteries lives in your own soul. Always begin with a written question.