Hello, one and all
Today is Palm Sunday and it usually begins in church as a time of rejoicing which marks the day Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and Holy Week begins. While making breakfast in the kitchen, with the palm crosses that can’t be distributed nearby, I was thinking how strange it seemed to have to celebrate this joyful morning so quietly and in isolation. Suddenly, the sun shone through the window and the image of part of a cross with palm branches was revealed on the wall above the bread bin! (A photo of the image follows – by the time I had found my iPad, it had faded but is still visible.) It was actually the shadow of the window frame and the spider plants on the window sill but it reminded me that we may not see the full picture but we each have our part in the events that are happening. What it showed me lifted my spirits and changed my perspective as this extraordinary Holy Week unfolds.
The Gospels tell us that, on the first Palm Sunday, the crowds ripped palm branches from the trees and laid cloaks on the ground to celebrate Jesus’ arrival. Today’s Gospel of the Palms tells us that two disciples were sent to make preparations:
“Go to the village ahead of you, and……you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.”…….. The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them…….. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” (Matt. 22:1-11, NIV)
This has a new resonance this year, in the Covid-19 pandemic. Jesus instructed his disciples to prepare by fetching the donkey for him and Government advice has now turned from guidance into instruction about social distancing. Many people are having to make challenging preparations for whatever lies ahead whilst older and vulnerable folk have to rely on others doing things such as fetching food or medicines for them while they are in self-isolation. We may be stirred and agitated by what’s happening and may also be asking, “Who is this?” as we judge whether or not it’s safe to encounter those nearby. That’s not easy – we are in circumstances that are evolving and uncertain, where life has changed out of all recognition and each of us is now instructed to undertake things we’d rather not do. Those first disciples must have found their lives had also changed out of all recognition when they met and followed Jesus and they were also clearly bewildered and frightened at times during the events of Holy Week. They – Jesus too – had to face extraordinary circumstances, suffering and death itself and it was only much later, when life was restored in a new way, that they all began to understand why this had been necessary. Perhaps their examples will hearten us as we now have to face all this ourselves amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which is also unfolding this Holy Week.
For the sake of others as well as ourselves, we are now instructed to make preparation and do what is deemed necessary to save lives.
With my prayers,