Maundy Thursday

Generations upon generations into the family of faith, we are used to the rhythm of Easter: we know how the story goes and that resurrection happens on Sunday. We know the end from the beginning, but from the vantage point of Maundy Thursday we know we have to passage through Good Friday first.

We know that on Friday Christ takes up his cross and carries it on his journey to Golgotha. On the way, Simon of Cyrene is seized by the authorities and compelled to carry that cross, sharing the impossible load.

We, however, are invited to take up our cross and carry it on our journey of discipleship (Matt 16:24-27; Luke 9:23, 14:27). This is no easy thing. Some of us will—like the author of today’s poem, Sarah Penwarden—literally carry a cross through our communities’ streets in an act of remembrance. The process of participation, however it is expressed, is weighty. This is a burden we cannot carry lightly.

On Maundy Thursday there is a sense of hesitation as we look out over the Easter weekend. A reluctance to engage in this full range of human and divine experience.

These Easter reflections are your invitation to engage. To lean into the discomfort. And to find there the Saviour we have always been looking for, and who has always been looking for us, whatever season of life we find ourselves in.

Easter procession

A cross on his shoulders;
a file of people,
walk behind
with black umbrellas:
les parapluies;
the rain falls in
fine drops:
spider lines,
while above our heads
the mist cloaks trees
in white cocoons;
to walk in silence
past columns
of rata and rimu
which burst into leaf in a
praise of green;
up ahead the church, and
footfall on footfall,
we tremble behind
a wooden

~ Sarah Penwarden
First appeared in 2019 in Stimulus: The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice, 26(1), 72.

Maja Whitaker, Lecturer in Practical Theology, School of Theology Dr Sarah Penwarden, Lecturer, School of Social Practice (Counselling)


“Looking for a Savior” by United Pursuit (feat. Will Reagan)