Holy Week: How Palm Sunday Will Be Different

Last year, Palm Sunday was a feat of logistics. Through the work of innumerable volunteers doing  everything from asking “what room does this go in”, to acting as cross-walk managers, sound crews in two locations, directing a bus and of course playing trombones, we managed to move an entire congregation in the course of a service—starting in one location and ending in another. The week continued with the story of Jesus’ passion; we closed the door on the old church for the final time and Easter welcomed us together to something new.

As I look back on last Holy Week, it is a time that I will always hold in holy memory. In part, I remember it because of the faith of the congregation. It showed what a people who are moved by vision can do—we can be so moved by the call of God that we can do difficult things and even let go of things that matter. It also gave me a new perspective on the story that we tell. Every year we tell the story of Jesus’ final week of life, the glories of entry, the threats to the powers of the world, the tragic stories of loss and betrayal, and the death… which isn’t the end of the story. As I look back on last year, I am grateful that there is room enough in our story for wherever we may be: in joy and in sorrow, in fullness and in loss, we are not left to our own but walk every step of the way with a suffering God.

As we enter this Holy Week, it will feel different this year. A story changes with each hearing, not because the words change, but because where you are in your life and world means that it resonates differently. This year we are not moving a church, but this Sunday are going to move from one room to another (if mobility isn’t an issue for you—start in the Atrium, and if it is, begin in the Sanctuary and welcome the crowds as they enter Jerusalem). This year we aren’t closing the door on a building for the last time, but we are going to gather around a table in a new way to watch the lights extinguish one by one. Easter will come once again and depending on where you are in your life, you may hear words of resurrection in a different way.

Blessings to you this week, for where you need to hear hosanna or for the tables you feel called to flip in the temple. Blessing to you who are in need of a table with friends and those who feel the sting of fallible humanity. Blessings to all those who feel in the tomb, and afraid that the stone is too heavy to carry. And blessings to all who are ready to come out…

Blessings to all in the week to come. Wherever you may be, know you are not alone, but held by God and this community of faith.



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