With liturgies suspended for this (most unusual) Holy Week, I wrote some brief daily meditations/reflections/poems on social media as a way to navigate the passage from Palm Sunday to Easter without the usual guideposts of communal worship.
The process of daily writing and posting was a reminder for me that our praise of God is just as much about what we offer–the oblation of our hearts–as it is what we receive. So even now, when we are separated by circumstance and the usual blessings of the liturgy feel distant, we can still present our humble gifts with gratitude. With this in mind, here are the posts I shared last week.
You know that anxious feeling of entry into something unfamiliar and inevitable, like the first day of school or that difficult conversation you simply can’t put off? The dry mouth and the churning gut? The sweat on the back of your neck?
Such is Palm Sunday. Bright, dizzying, crystallized, expectant, palm leaves that scratch your own palms, cries of praise that leave you hoarse. The big event that doesn’t quite satisfy.
Palm Sunday has a feverish quality, like infatuation that has convinced itself that it’s love. It is desire without generosity. Longing without trust.
As we stand at the roadside, or peer from our windows, at the man who enters our midst on a donkey, let us be mindful of all that we still project onto him, all the ways we demand him to solve the heartbreaks and hatreds of our own creation. He comes to illuminate suffering, but not to erase it. He comes to show us life, but we must still traverse through the narrow gate that leads there. When we cry Hosanna, when we wave the branch, we are greeting a very different sort of salvation than the one we privately hoped for. If we truly understood it, its magnitude and its cost, we would likely fall silent as he passed by.
Palm Sunday is the irony of ripping branches zealously; to kill the tender green prematurely– a misguided homage to the One
Who would not break a bruised reed.
In our plundering jubilation we are convicted–
he will gather the trampled fronds and
mend the broken branches back
onto the Tree of Life.