a kind of vulnerability

Palm Sunday

We often think that vulnerability is a kind of weakness,
but there’s a kind of vulnerability that is actually strength and presence.

Holy Week has begun in very different way this year. There were no palms to hold on Palm Sunday, no parades as we sang hosanna.

This year we face a challenge new and risk-filled. A virus! Unlike one we have ever faced before. Our need for protection, our need to be separated from one another put many of us in front of screens in our homes- be they computers or televisions – it was the way we gathered for this first day of Holy Week. The prayers, the readings and music were all familiar. Our spirits stretched to reach a common, sacred place. 

It is easy to feel vulnerable. Outside of our doors there is a real sense of threat and much is unknown.

On Palm Sunday we are reminded that vulnerability is not always about weakness. The actions taken by Jesus speak to strength and courage. He entered Jerusalem, knowing it would ultimately cost him his life. He went into that city looking triumphant but he knew he was vulnerable and so he entered strong and present.

Holy week has begun in a very different way this year. Like all the people who waved palms of welcome and hope as Jesus entered Jerusalem, we cannot see the future. We can only breathe in this moment, with prayer and gentle patience  


Quote: Ram Dass

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…

20140413-033442.jpg

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