I live in Austin, Texas, where, along with much of the country, I expect to remain under a “Shelter in Place” order during Palm Sunday. What a strange contradiction on a Sunday in which we would ordinarily march around the streets of the church, waving palm branches, and loudly singing, “Hosanna in the highest!”
Howard Thurman writes, “In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.”
Growing up, I remember the season of Lent as one of reflection and contemplation. Somewhere in young adulthood, the season lost its peacefulness for me.
We have “wittingly” exposed our children to the lyrics and notes of the musical Hamilton.
My very first Ash Wednesday as a baptized member of the Episcopal Church was February 13, 2013. My husband was at home that evening with our infant son, John Paul, and I was at church alone. I
This year Episcopal Relief & Development partnered with Grow Christians for their annual Lenten Meditation book.
On Palm Sunday, during the reading of the passion gospel, my three and a half year old learned that Jesus died. On the one hand, I was swelling with parental pride for his calm attentiveness and understanding of the story. But on the other hand, I was worried about how this new information would begin processing in his young mind.
Maundy Thursday offers a bookend of touch to Ash Wednesday: a touch on the forehead with ashes juxtaposed with the touch of hands, soap, and water on feet. These are fleeting moments of tenderness, thin spaces of vulnerability, connection.
Getting ready for Holy Week, I’m struck, as always, by how jarring the Palm Sunday liturgy is. One minute we’re all shouting “hosanna, hosanna!” (Greek for “save us”) and then the next thing we know, we’re shouting “Crucify him.” It’s emotionally wrenching; hope and expectation give way to fury and fear. No settling in, no probing depths. Our liturgy moves us from place to place, scarcely able to take a breath.
It can be difficult for our children to the stories of Holy Week. Here are some tips for preparing children for the Passion.