On Maundy Thursday, Jesus came into the Church where I was, and sat down in the pew behind me. The service was mostly a musical rendition by the Church choir, along with another church choir and a string quartet. They performed a work by Monteverdi and Haydn’s Missa Brevis. I sat near the front, close to the choir loft, since my wife is a soprano in our Church choir and I like to watch her as she sings.
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week. It marks the Last Supper, the betrayal and arrest of Christ, and is the lead up to the Good Friday remembrance of the Crucifixion. A somber period, full of reflection. I turned around a couple of times to see how Jesus was reacting to the service. He was paying close attention to the sermon, I noticed, but when I turned around during the singing of the Haydn mass, I could see tears on his face, and his eyes were closed.
I also closed my eyes, and began to pray.
“Thank you, Lord,” I prayed, “for this beautiful music”. Jesus answered me.
“You’re welcome” I heard him say, “but it isn’t I, but your lovely wife and her friends who are providing the music”. I spun around in the pew, and saw that Jesus was sitting still with his eyes closed, and there was a very slight smile on his face. He was speaking directly to my soul, without sound.
“And thank the composers, who even now are listening to this beautiful rendition of their work, and are gladdened” I turned back to the front of the Church, bowed my head, and asked Jesus:
“Why have you come here, to this Church, tonight, Lord? There are larger Churches, Cathedrals even, with much larger choirs, filled with professional singers, and famous preachers.”
“I know that, brother. I have heard people say that there are much bigger and better planets than this one, that there are, or there must be, better species than humans, and that the insignificance of this place and this time is staggering. When I hear that I respond, ‘that might be true, but you are here”’.
“Lord are you saying that you have come here for me? Has my time come to go with you?”
“No, brother, not yet. I have come to tell you a parable. Once there was a fisherman who was never lucky. He struggled to catch enough fish to survive. He prayed all the time for mercy, for help in catching fish. I granted his wish for mercy and answered his prayer. I told him that it didn’t matter how many fish he caught, that what mattered was that he catch the right fish.”
I bowed my head, and heard the choir singing the final Dona Nobis Pacem of the mass. When the Pastor said ‘Amen’, I knew that Jesus had gone. “Thank you, Lord,” I prayed.