Triduum Lament

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By Jon Rundquist

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Matthew 26:47-49 NRSV

I think I’m like most people these days, in that I really don’t know how to wrap my head around the words “global pandemic”. I cannot fathom either a world without the COVID-19 virus (it feels like it’s been so long) or a world with it. I just don’t really know what to do with it, except panic, and know that somehow, somewhere, God’s got this. 

When I feel out of control, and I need to get my thoughts out somehow, I like to write poetry. Usually, I write within my own confines of the rules of rhythm and metre. I count the syllables, make sure the words rhyme, and feel a slight peak of joy at knowing that I was able to squeeze a certain word into those rules. I hope the whole thing still makes sense. It gives me a sense of control in a world without it. 

However, this lament that I wrote one dark early morning last week, doesn’t follow those usual conventions. But neither does this virus. The following is my early Holy Week/Triduum lament. It just seems that this is what fits these times. 

Triduum Lament

The Last Supper

The feet were washed

The food was served

The people were gathered

The bread was broken

The wine was poured

We were just talking

About the need for unity

We didn’t mean to betray that

We didn’t mean to betray Jesus

We didn’t mean for this to happen

We didn’t need this to happen


Most suppers aren’t the last one, but this one could be. 

Most coughs aren’t life-threatening, 

but this one could be. 

It was just a kiss, Jesus

I don’t want to die, Jesus

I don’t want to kill, Jesus

I don’t want 

to kill 



Pilate Washes His Hands

What uncertain times we live in. 

What an uncertain time you lived in. 

People watching everything

People worrying about everything

What if this isn’t the Messiah we wanted

What if this isn’t the change we needed

What about all the other diseases to worry about

What about all the saviors we’d prayed about

There’s too many people dying, Jesus

There’s too many people killing, Jesus

There’s too many people dying

There’s too many people 

Killing Jesus


We’re not supposed to be on that cross

That’s you. That’s all you. 

Money is supposed to be on that cross

All our shame. All our sin. 

But someone got it backward. 

Pilate washes his hands daily

While Caiaphas pleads for us to stay home

Where’s God to set it right

Where’s our Messiah, if not on the cross

Where are you



In Between

What happened to the food

What happened to the friends

Where’s the parties

Where’s the friendship

We’re caught in the middle

And yet

Still alone

Still very much alone

In between life and death

Certainty and uncertainty

Isolation and safety

Community apart

Togetherness within


We anxiously await the end of this Jesus

We need this to end Jesus

When will it end

When will life begin


Loving and Gracious God, we long for a respite from this global pandemic. We see the hope found in other countries returning to a semblance of life as usual. We see our own neighborhoods reeling in fear and anxiety. We remember your journey to the cross, and the pain and suffering of your death. Be with us as we long for what comes next. Guide us through this pain, hold the hands for those lamenting loss. We hold onto your hope, Loving God. Be with us now, and in your kin-dom. In your Loving and Gracious name, we pray, Amen




Jon Rundquist (he/her/theirs) is a lover of Holy Week, a parent and a spouse, and 2017 MDiv. graduate of Luther Seminary. She’s worked at Target on and off since the end of internship, awaiting her own “what comes next”. 
For a little longer, he lives an “essential” worker life, while enjoying the added time home with his children and wife. They’ve loved being able to see their friends preach during the pandemic, and will celebrate the Triduum virtually. 







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