by Lüthien Teel
During the Maundy Thursday church service, after the washing of feet and the stripping of the altar, we watch in silence as the sacrament is
carried into the chapel of Gethsemane where a vigil is held through the
night for those who wish to participate. A program is held every year
for the youth of St. Barnabas, where they sleep over at the hall and take turns spending time alone in the silent, candle-lit Gethsemane chapel — keeping vigil and thinking about this part of Holy Week. Participating in the youth program for the first time this year, I was asked to write about my experience.
Leaving the church in silence, we walked over to the hall and ate a
snack, then went for a short walk around the block before returning to
the hall to read and discuss this part of the Easter story. We started
our shifts at 2:00 am, each waking the next person when their turn was
finished. I now understand how the disciples felt, having found it
difficult to stay awake myself! The chapel was very quiet and, of
course, beautifully decorated with flowers and greenery.
In the morning, we made our way downtown to the cathedral, where we took turns carrying a heavy wooden cross. We processed with people from a few different congregations around the downtown area, pausing several times for appropriate Bible readings. This really helped me to appreciate how Jesus felt carrying his cross. It was, in a way, living the events of Holy Week. We then returned to St. Barnabas for the solemn Good Friday service.
Taking part in these events and services centred around the vigil of Gethsemane and the crucifixion has given me a deeper understanding and spiritual connection with the Easter story. I am so grateful to all the people (Jasmin and Travis in particular) who helped make this possible.