Archives, Biography, Pondering, Wheaton

Ubi Caritas

I had the most extraordinary experience on Maundy Thursday.  I was playing the piano for the small church where I presently worship.  It is part of the complicated map of American Anglicanism that regularly rearranges itself in this era.  I have a deep love for the beauty and truth of this prayer book tradition, even as I ache for the many storms that blow hard across her bow. 

While I am presently in safe waters, there have been seasons where I wasn’t sure I would survive some of those storms.  And it wasn’t long into this Maundy Thursday service that I recognized survivors from a past church split were present with us in that sanctuary.  That dynamic isn’t uncommon in this Anglican age—this one just happened to be personal: I lost a great deal in that particular storm, and have not worshipped, let alone assisted in leading worship, with the brothers and sisters who chose to board the other ship over a decade ago. 

So here I am, leading a beautiful version of Ubi Caritas praying that “all division may cease under the Lordship of our Prince of Peace” with the tears streaming down my face.  “This hurts, Lord.  I will wash these friends’ feet, but I lost so much in that storm.  Only you know…”

And as I played, I was comforted by this phrase in John 13:33-34 “Where I am going you cannot come. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

There are places I am called to go with Jesus: one of them is to wash the feet of brothers and sisters with whom I share a painful past.   In this instance that looked like playing as beautifully and meaningfully as my fingers and heart would allow for the remnant of a church that had once torn apart the fabric of my own life.

But there are places I cannot go.  Betrayals that are too life-altering for me to straddle, pain too heavy to bear.  And I am unspeakably comforted by the truth that, while the call to love takes me deeper than I ever imagined possible, Jesus went to the cross precisely because there are places I cannot come.  He alone was able to bear that awful load.  And He gives me life on the other side of the chaos and destruction. 

I cried hard after that service.  But the tears were healing.  I was grateful for what I was granted the grace to do…and for realizing anew that there are places only Jesus could go.  And the pain of the past rests on his shoulders so that I might lean into love with my heart directed to the future. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s