For years, when I thought of Palm Sunday, I envisioned Jesus riding into Jerusalem with fanfare, celebration, and glory.
For the second year in a row, we’ll not be at church on Palm Sunday, and I won’t be in charge of the donkey.
The idea came to me when I was gathering up the stubs of taper candles that we used for our Easter Vigil.
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!”
Palm Sunday will be here in just a few short days and I am not ready for it. I’m not ready for Holy Week as a priest, as a parent, or as an individual person trying to follow Christ. And yet, it’s coming.
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.
This Holy Week, God will be at work in us in ways we cannot yet ask or imagine.
Hope is the word I’m clinging to during this Lent.
Palm crosses are an outward and visible sign of the triumph of sacrifice and love.