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Loved to the End: A Poem for Maundy Thursday

April 20, 2011


by Pamela C. Hawkins

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. — John 13:1-2

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be loved.

It is a memory deeper in me than marrow

or the worst pain I’ve ever felt

or the dark, damp curve where my

child’s life began –

Love – the real love that

whispers, yet has no voice;

knows, yet is without detail.

That kind of love is

what I’m thinking about these

long, thinning Jerusalem days.

How do I know what love can be?

Love that rises up against all the

storm’s fury that tells me I’m lost at sea –

not worth saving.

Love that curls up under my body,

turns me face up to air and light and sky;



but alive.

How do I know to hold my breath until that love comes in like the tide?

Is love the buoyancy?

the salt?

the current?

Is love the power greater than any Leviathan

I’ve ever been thrown against?

How do I know this Love?



Pamela C. Hawkins is a United Methodist pastor and currently serves as managing editor of Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, published by The Upper Room. Hawkins is author of The Awkward Season: Prayers for Lent and Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent (Upper Room Books), and her new book, Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent is forthcoming this year.

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