The eve of Holy Week

 

We are on the edge of Holy Week – a week in the Christian tradition filled with many doorways and transitions. If this is a journey you take each year, notice all of the doors of this coming week. Consider the choices made each day, each hour — which thresholds would be entered by Jesus and all the people surrounding him. 

Doorways and thresholds- facing risk and grace.


Door of the day… (Asturias, Spain)

Palm Sunday re-visited

Palm Sunday - He Qi

(Palm Sunday – He Qi)

Today we have celebrated Palm Sunday. Once again I am intrigued by how chaotic and awkward the worship can feel.  It can be a stretch to ‘connect the dots’ between triumphal entry and brutal death. Too much for one service, we attempt a flow of worship, where it appears none was intended. Frustrated – we force this story and its impact to fit our worship service and self-created time restraint.

The service for Palm Sunday is overwhelming. Even if the church designed this service to pack in the whole story, it could be the best way to begin Holy Week. On this day we enter a week filled with confusion, fear, pain and celebration. Was it not chaos for all involved during that week? Jesus had tried to explain all that was to come. But    among this glorious entry into the city of ‘all that was sacred’, an entry that sung of victory and God’s blessing – who could have imagined that all would turn so horrible and tragic. The chaos certainly was overwhelming. Packed into a week – they went from certainty to despair.

And so packed into an hour and a half we, as followers of Jesus, share in this heart wrenching confusion – we enter with palms waving and exit in silent, somber awe. Exhausted we leave – wondering how all of these moments can happen so quickly.

Whether it is in an hour or a week, the moments happen quickly for they are out of our control, then and now. We walk the road this next week, invited to gather for the sacred meal, stay alert in the garden and know the sound of death’s silence. We know our hearts will rise with a dawn’s sun but for this moment we are invited to join in the journey of these six days. It does not matter how often you have experienced this Holy Week – the road is filled with new images and insights. Stay alert for the moments pass quickly.

 

(a re-written re-post)

To follow and lead…

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It is the early morning of Palm Sunday. Believing in the God of creation, we come to this day knowing how Jesus’ time on earth brought hope and promise to the depressed, the sick and outcast. Through his life and actions we learn that God’s kingdom is among us. Heavens doors are open wide awaiting a time future. Yet that kingdom is also here, in this place and moment.
This day begins a week filled with mystery. Sometimes we enter Holy Week with clear focus on the direction we are to take and other times we move one foot in front of the other with little sense of where we are to go next. Yet forward we go, the path only known through our relationship with an ever creating God.
God incarnate came among us. Our call to follow is filled with inspiration and instinct. From this Sunday onward we learn not only about the cost of following but also the call to lead.
The dance to follow and lead is found throughout nature. God’s creation is filled with movement and relationship. May we be inspired to move through this week renewed with the steps of a follower and given the insight of a leader.
May we trust the Spirit to move us swiftly and with confidence. May we take our inspiration from nature which knows how to lead and follow with grace and purpose.

Murmuration- a flock of starlings – On Being

The Path of Palm Sunday

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I offer a previously written reflection as it remains true for today. Welcome to Holy Week.

This day is always filled with confusion and inspiration. Its chaos and its strange, awkward flow – always challenge liturgists who strive to ‘connect the dots’ between triumphal entry and brutal death. Too much for one service we try to create a flow of worship, where it appears none was intended. Frustrated – we force this story and its impact to fit our form and time.

It is chaos — and yet, when I step back from the function, I sense a possible reason. Was it not chaos for all involved during that week? Who knew – disciples and all the hopeful – that this glorious entry into the city of all that was sacred, an entry that sung of victory and God’s blessing – who knew all would turn so horrible and tragic. The chaos must have been overwhelming. Packed into a week – they went from certainty to despair. Packed into an hour and a half we share that sense of wrenching confusion – we enter with palms waving and exit in silent awe. Exhausted we leave – wondering how all of these moments can happen so quickly.

Our time of wonder is as long as a life. We walk the road this next week, feeling the connection, the compassion and the violent shift. May there be insights in these days, hours and moments. May we realize all creation’s role as God enters our own sacred places.

For Palm Sunday, a poem by Mary Oliver

The Poet Thinks about the Donkey

On the outskirts of Jerusalem

the donkey waited.

Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,

he stood and waited.

*

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!

How doves, released from their cages,

clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

*

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.

Then he let himself be led away.

Then he let the stranger mount.

*

Never had he seen such crowds!

And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.

Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

*

I hope, finally he felt brave.

I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,

as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.