Thursday evening...the meal is over...quietly they follow Jesus out the door and through the valley...up to the silent garden...he prays...
Most Maundy Thursdays have been for me a time to reenact the Last Supper of Jesus and his followers and the initiation on the Meal of Grace (Communion, Eucharist, Lord's Supper.) This is an especially meaningful time to feast at the table of the Lord with his people. Recalling his suffering and ending the gathering in silence as we take down the cross from its place in the worship center, strip it of all decoration, and wrap it in a black shroud and leave the place of suffering and death in the dark.
This year however, Lisa and I felt inspired to focus on what transpired after the Last Supper. There was a very powerful and profound experience to be found following Jesus into the Garden of Prayer. Lisa found a point of inspiration in the experience of David Drury with a Prayer Labyrinth. We simplified the process, and changed some parts of the event to suit our community of faith.
We created a prayer experience in which participants literally walked through the Path laid out in the Lord's Prayer. Each section of the prayer had a stop on this Prayer Pathway for reflection and active, hands-on participation. Participants travelled the Path in a small group from stop to stop. At the end of a time at each stop, the entire gathering recited the Lord's Prayer and then groups moved to the next stop on the Path.
Lisa did a super job creating sacred space for these 5 stops, with intimate candle lighting and appropriate art and activities at separate table/stations. We acted out the first Stop "Lord, teach us to pray..." and the last Stop, "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." in a center section of seats. For more details for each stop, its activity and emphasis contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were greatly encouraged by participants from four different area churches. We especially are thankful for the commitments and comments of participants. Many found deep and significant renewal and refreshing during the evening.
I would encourage any community of faith to create such a quiet, reflective Prayer Pathway through which participants can reconnnect with the intimate grace of our Lord!
Lisa and I hope to improve and expand the Lord's Prayer Pathway next year.