Updated: Apr 2, 2021
By Maureen Kalbus
Sheltering at home during Holy Week, I am reflecting on Easter over decades and in different locations. As an adult, I always sought out churches that offered a Communion Service on Maundy Thursday, as that was when Jesus first instituted the sacrament with the disciples in the Upper Room. A few years ago at F.P.C.S.A., following Jesus’ example of washing the disciples’ feet, washing of the feet was offered to church members in the Memorial Garden. It was a truly meaningful experience. Joanne washed feet, and I dried them. That was humbling.
An unforgettable hymn by Tom Colvin, set to a Ghanian folk melody, paints the picture:
“Kneels at the feet of His friends, silently washes their feet.
Master who acts as a slave to them…
Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you
Neighbors are wealthy and poor, varied in color and race;
neighbors are near us and far away…
These are the ones we should serve, these are the ones we should love;
all these are neighbors to us and you…
Loving puts us on our knees, willing to wash others’ feet;
this is the way we should live like you…”
On Good Friday, I also looked for churches that held services. In Northern Ireland and Australia, everything was closed on the sacred day: schools, shops, businesses and banks...giving people the opportunity to attend church, and reflect. In both countries a bakery speciality was hot cross buns. During Holy week, the aroma around bakeries was scrumptious!
The wife of the Bishop of Londonderry and Raphoe, penned a hymn I grew up with:
“There is a green hill far away, without a city wall.
Where the dear Lord was crucified , who died to save us all…
He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by His precious blood…”
The walled city of Londonderry provoked her to think of Jerusalem, another walled city.
Other favorites were George Bennard’s “The Old Rugged Cross”:
“On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame,
And I love that old cross, where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down.