On Holy Thursday there are two worship services in the Chartres Cathedral,
one that includes foot-washing and communion in the upper church, and a watch-night prayer service in the crypt.
All the events of the night of Jesus’s arrest are remembered including the last supper of Jesus with his disciples shown above and the kiss of betrayal by Judas portrayed below.
Each service draws the worshipper both closer to the deep love of God and the human need for redemption. Beauty–of the cathedral and especially of the thirteenth century tabernacle in which the consecrated elements of communion are placed during the prayer time late at night–helps to soften the sorrow that is a part of what happened to Christ and that inhabits our hearts.
Jesus told his disciples, “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” John 16:16-18 NRSV
Jesus, I can’t imagine the state of Your heart as you prepared to surrender Your will to God the Parent’s. Thank You for being with me as I contemplate Your love, suffering, betrayal, and steadfastness. I love you too, Jill
Invitation to prayer
Choose one of the images that speaks to your heart and gaze at it softly until your heart knows what it most wants to communicate in prayer. After doing so, return to the image and gaze at it again. Do not rush, take at least five minutes to visually contemplate what is being communicated to you.
All the stained glass images are found in the twelfth-century Passion window (1145-55) on the west wall of the cathedral. The rest of the images are of the Limoges Tabernacle created in the thirteenth century. It is only taken out and used once a year, on the night of Maundy Thursday.
Books by Jill that Relate to the Chartres Cathedral