‘And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgements: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel’
At the heart of the Holy Week celebrations is the task of reigniting this ‘original commitment’ to God. (It is another way of looking at this sacred moment in Jewish history. Making this covenant, metaphorically, was a synchronous covenant with all the peoples. This first covenant, archetypically, has marked us all. This is the ‘original commitment’ which is to be brought back to consciousness.)
‘… And half of the blood Moses sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant , and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.’
An altar, burning with the fire of prayer, is our only reality, which cannot be manipulated. Worshiping God recreates, on a daily bases, our sense of what is Real. The celebrations of the Holy Week (the Last Supper with forming the new covenant with the apostles; Good Friday with the redeeming death of Christ, the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday with Jesus’ resurrection) is about history, our world, our personal lives becoming real again! One cannot imagine greater hell then being caught up in the permanent flow of ‘breaking news’. Our world, painfully, is unreal without God.
Also, since that moment of the covenant, we exist in and through the shared story telling with God!
Chapter 17 in John’s Gospel is Jesus’ high-priestly prayer for us. The whole of Jesus’ prayer is his work of making in us conscious that we belong to God. This high-priestly prayer is a great support in remembering our ‘original commitment to God’. It is a reminder that humankind belongs to God through its capacity to love. But first of all, Holy Thursday is a reminder, that personally, and as the local church, through our Baptismal promises, we belong to the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..