Report on Maundy Thursday experiment

See the previous post where I describe the idea behind the service.

There is an art to working with the space one has.  One must exploit un recognized possibilities but also acknowledge unavoidable limitations.

The communion table could not fit seats around it where it is usually stationed, in the middle.  So we set it up to the side, which is an underutilized space.  (But one that also can interfere with fire codes.)

Anyway, in short the service had promise.  But the execution was a bit of a disaster.  We had a rehearsal, but not enough.  The readers had to walk to the table, sit in the right place, wait for everyone else to be ushered there, serve themselves communion and pass the elements, and then read.  The ways that the orchestration of it all could go wrong proved humorously many–but part of the problem was that there is no room for humor at Maundy Thursday.  I think rehearsal for complex liturgical choreography like that must involve people physically going through the motions.

I or someone in the know should have staid by the table the entire time.  But I was by the piano for my solo version of “Were You There.”  I hope you weren’t there.  My mouth was so dry and I couldn’t get any water, and I was so tense from watching the service spiral out of control that my voice was nowhere near where I wanted it.

Despite all that, several people reported finding it moving.  Including the experience of sitting at the table to take communion.  I think the sheer power of the story gets all the credit there.

 

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