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Wendy Jean MacLean

Honorable Mention: 2017 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Christian Poet:
Wendy Jean MacLean is a minister in a small country church in the village of Lyn, in eastern Ontario. Before studying theology, she taught elementary school in Chibougamau, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies in Canada, UK, USA and Japan. She won first and second prize in the Drummond contest, first in Open Heart 11, and honourable mention in several other Canadian contests.  Wendy has two grown sons and a cherished husband who tries to ignore her messy desk.

About this Poem:
The Maundy Thursday worship service is a dramatic, pensive and powerful part of the drama of Holy Week. Last year we had an ice storm that made it impossible for us to meet. I walked along the river’s edge, in the wild pounding of the rain and ice, and felt the sadness of missing our evening gathering. Practicality and care for our older members was a deciding factor when we cancelled our service, but I felt like Peter, betraying the One who asks us to be with him in his agony.

Maundy Thursday Weather Report

Today the river is Gethsemane,
its stone banks the olive grove
where you weep.
Today the torment is on the outside
as the winds howl and the rain beats
against the chest of the spring earth.

The gulls, like disciples, hover,
then fly, thankful for a warm gust
to carry them away from your rebuke:
“Can you not stay with me, just one hour?”

This morning I hear the news
of storms and slippery streets.
The path to the Upper Room will be treacherous
and we are uncertain who will be there
if we dare to travel for this Thursday night
of prayer and story, song and silence.
Will we be broken with you, Lord?

I long to defy the storm, to stay awake,
to keep you company in your agony.
But this is the night of the new commandment,
the mandate, the Maundy:
to love one another, as you have loved us.
We become the beloved community, humbled
by the ice, knowing our limitations,
and asking you to meet us where we are
since we can’t follow you to where you are going.
We will stay safe, inside our homes,
and may the storm battering our windows
find peace in our hearts, as we remember
and give thanks.

Copyright ©2017 by Wendy Jean MacLean