Poems and Readings for the Watch of the Passion

The Watch of the Passion happens on the night of Maundy Thursday until the morning of Good Friday. Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane and prays. He asks the Disciples, 

"Could you not watch with me one hour?"

We, like them, with heavy eyes and tired bodies are invited to spend some time with Jesus as we remember the story of these days.

Poem

 

In those early days

when no one was around to watch,

you planted the seeds

which would blossom

into sheaves of wheat;

you began to train

grapevines

to curl round

your fingers

so that,

on that last night,

you could take that loaf of

12-grace bread,

breaking it

into a piece of healing

which could

take our shattered lives

and put us back together

as your beloved;

so that,

in that room,

you could take the grapes

of wrath, fear, doubt,

squeezing them through

your breaking heart,

pouring the sweet nectar

of hope, wonder and peace

into such a simple cup

we cannot begin

to understand

the rich complexity

of your love

but only

taste

on this

night.    

Thom M Shuman

Slow us down for the fast


 

Slow us down for the fast

Slow us down for the fast.

Still our restless spirits …

Calm our racing minds …

Centre our being …

Let our longing linger.

Let it take root

and create a beautiful yearning space

that has the time to ache …

Slow us down for the fast.

Silence the siren voices.

Wait for our weary wanting

to meet our need and find common ground …

Hold back the driving beat of our hearts

and let the drums of our internal wars fall silent …

Slow us down for the fast.

Before the journey begins …

Before the wanderlust calls us …

Before the wilderness beckons

and breaks our searching spirits …

Slow us down for the fast.

 

Sally Foster-Fulton

From St. Augustine

God of our life,

there are days when the burdens we carry

chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;

when the road seems dreary and endless,

the skies grey and threatening;

when our lives have no music in them,

and our hearts are lonely,

and our souls have lost their courage.

 

Flood the path with light,

run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise;

tune our hearts to brave music;

give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every     age;

and so quicken our spirits

that we may be able to encourage the souls of all

who journey with us on the road of life,

to Your honour and glory.

 

Augustine

From “The Wasteland”

 

 What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.


 

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces

After the frosty silence in the gardens

After the agony in stony places

The shouting and the crying

Prison and palace and reverberation

Of thunder of spring over distant mountains

He who was living is now dead

We who were living are now dying

With a little patience

 

T.S. Eliot

Links:

The Text of the Passion Story According to Mark

A Video of the Passion Story being read by church members

The Whole Gospel of Mark, read

The text of the Last Supper Story in John

We were, as we willed,

Becoming drunk on good wine,

Sleep ready,

Satisfied

In our own stories.

 

Heroes, shadowy but longed for,

Made their way to minds engaging memories

Of many gatherings,

But this was none such.

The cold night

Sliced into us

Eyes wide, alert,

No memory of this ending.

 

We were, willed with all His will

To waken heavy supper eyes,

Willed, willed to answer His request,

To remain today

Willed to follow, to answer, to test

That will which will so easily be broken.

But there will always be tomorrow.

 

And so, we slept

Dreams far from tears

Bloated dreams of before time

And more time

Not noticing this time

Until they came.

 

Until the torches and shouts and fear

Filled our ears

Attacked

Our minds searching for some reason

Finding chaos

Darkness

Silence

Before the fast.

Marina Ransom