A palpable weight hangs in the room. It will be a difficult evening. Twelve gospel passages recounting Christ’s last hours upon the earth.
The washing. Jesus cups the feet of the traitor in His hands and lovingly ministers to him one last time.
The table. This is my Body, broken. My Blood. Remember.
The garden. Lord if it be possible… Yet not my will.
The trial. The liars. The betrayal. The cock.
The scourging. The mockery. The people.
We drop to our knees, faces to the floor, as the priest comes out from the altar with the cross on his back. And he begins to sing…
Today He is suspended on a Tree who suspended the earth over the waters.
A crown of thorns was placed on the head of the King of angels.
He who wore a false purple robe, covered the heavens with clouds.
He was smitten who, in the Jordan, delivered Adam.
The Groom of the Church was fastened with nails, and the Son of the Virgin was pierced with a spear.
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ.
Make us to behold they glorious Resurrection.
…and then we hear it. Hammer against nail. Like a kick to the stomach. And I can’t breathe. And my face is hot. And feel like I am going to throw up. And I want to yell at them to stop. As though that would undo it.
Woman, behold your son. Behold, your mother.
Today you shall be with me in Paradise.
Father, into thy hands…
*Quoted text from the Lenten Triodian, Orthros of Holy Friday (The Twelve Passion Gospels)