Thursday, April 9, 2009

this week-end

This week the Religious Activities Center lives up to its name. Passover began last night. Christians will observe Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The Muslim community will have their regular noon prayers on Friday overflowing into the main dining room. The Christians in our community will be moving back and forth to the chapel as Catholics and Protestants observe Good Friday. On Sunday St. Paul's AME Church will have it's Easter Service in Kresge and that evening Dr. Heidi Baker will hold a worship service at 7:30 in Kresge.

It is a vital and respectful time as all of these traditions observe important rituals and intersect as they meet each other. The space we share at MIT means that there is a foundation of respect that fosters civility and humility before differences. In these difficult times, economically and religiously, observing this interaction may be the best sermon one can hear on Easter.

This is also a time for families to come together. My wife and I will be in Denver with our daughter for Easter. While single, she has a community of friends and family who join her for a celebratory meal. It is a good time of the year as the world tilts a bit toward warmth and we observe rebirth all around us.

For students this is a time of renewed focus as they point toward the end of the school year. Observed religious traditions for many make the final push more palatable and friendships often cross religious boundaries once thought impermeable. It is a good time to remember that things do change.


Robert M. Randolph

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Maundy Thursday

I thought some checking this blog would enjoy knowing what is going on in the MIT chapel this week; here are the plans for the Lutheran Episcopal Ministry for today.

Maundy Wednesday FAQs:

Q: Why is LEM celebrating Maundy Thursday on a Wednesday?
A: Habit -- We normally meet on a Wednesday night, so we decided to keep to that
during Holy Week.

Q: Where is the service tomorrow?
A: In the Main Dining Room of W11 at 5:15 pm, because we'll be eating dinner as
part of our worship service.

Q: Sounds weird. Why would we do that?
A: Because Maundy Wednesday commemorates the Last Supper, so like Jesus and the
disciples on that night, we will gather at the table to bless, break, and share
bread (and olives, fruit, cheese, other simple foods).

Q: Why is it called "Maundy" something?
A: The Latin word for "commandment" is "maundatum," from which we get "maundy."
The whole evening centers around Christ's commandment to his disciples that we
love one another as he loves us.

Q: Can we love one another without washing one another's feet?
A: Yes, but Jesus washed his disciples' feet on the last night of his life as a
sign of love for them. Following his example, we'll be invited to participate
in footwashing.

Q: Do I have to?
A: No, you can do so if you'd like, or you can simply pray, meditate, and sing
while other's participate.

Q: Will the water be warm?
A: Yes.

Q: Will there be a collection, like we usually do on Wednesdays?
A: We will take up a collection, but this one will be special. It is an old
traditions (like, centuries old) that the collections during Holy Week go to
support the work of the church in the Holy Land. Our collection from Wednesday
and Friday this week will go to Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and the
Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, both of which do amazing work supporting those
in need.

Q: Will there be a sermon?
A: Nope. But there will be a time for sharing a story or remembrance about a way
that you have experienced "agape," or unconditional love. You might think about
that ahead of time & consider what & whether you might share something.

Q: How will tomorrow's service end?
A: We will end in silence, leaving without chatting with one another, without a
dismissal or blessing. The service will continue on Friday at noon in the

Q: What if I have a class on Friday at noon?
A: Good Friday is a recognized religious holiday; if you let your
instructor/professor/advisor know ahead of time of your plan to attend the
service, Institute policy is that you should be excused.