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Mandatum

5 April, 2012 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne

Maundy Thursday’s not subtle:
Do this as I do
– A hard-to-miss lesson
(Even Peter, it seems
All-or-nothing as ever
Gets there in the end)
But I’m brought to the altar
Past shame, beyond doubt
To proffer my foot to
One standing for You.

Tonight’s humbler beginning
Less-literal self-gift
With basin jug towel
Repeats that night’s acts
– To show them this supper
As more than a meal?

For us, the reverse:
Lest, this late in the day
In the light of the story
– Wild ransom in full –
We look only upward,
Count all debts as paid
Through the ending we know

(Condemnatory kiss,
Hand-washing – as mocking
Defilement? – their fear
Though not from the silver
Too tarnished  to keep
Or blood that it purchased –
Washed out with our faults
With what’s done, and undone)

It speaks, sotto voce
Of duty to all:
No service too humble
No servant too great
No honour sufficient
For what we receive
Till doubt becomes action
– Faith is as it does
And no act is too small,
So I purpose to start

With tomorrow’s return of
Your kiss on my feet.

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