by Mary O’Connell

The smell of roasted lamb —
spiky cypresses, cool at evening,
cast shadows in the slanting sun.

High in the upper room
the Master fills some water jars.
It would have been enough

to lay out towels and oil
for these twelve hefty Galileans,
but he bends and pours.

This is the night that rends the seam of time,
sets the spinning world back on its track.
This is the hour when Seder light grows bright

to push the powers of darkness firmly back.
The Elijah cup waits in the growing dusk
to pour out wine that drops down thick as blood.

Now towelled and expectant, the chosen twelve
carry unleavened loaves and bitter herbs,
reminders of the first Passover meal,

when Pharaoh held their ancestors in chains,
but now the fearsome seal of ordination,
more binding than the mortar of the slaves,

stamps each one with new unearthly power
taking His broken body in their hands
to heal and bring to wholeness on this earth

those who are broken, desolate and lost.
Continuing from Melchizedek of old,
they’ll move along his path and do his will.

Bearing a secret cross, they will retrace
the way to Golgotha, unsafe and steep —
a way of brigands, miscreants, and thieves.