This is Holy Week, a week set apart by Christians to reflect on the final days of Jesus’ life from his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to his death on the Cross on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Day. A week full of high tension moments, of tears and jeers, support and rejection, betrayal and denial. High points and low points, noise and silence, crowds and isolation. We will, especially during this time of Coronavirus, be able to sympathise and empathise with many of those emotions and happenings, sharing tears of joy as well as sorrow.
A prayer to begin our reflections this week:
Eternal, ever living God, in times of certainty and uncertainty, you are with us.
in times of doubt and belief, you are with us.
In times of sickness and good health, you are with us.
In times of laughter and of sadness, you are with us.
In times of togetherness and aloneness, you are with us.
In the good times and the bad, you are with us.
In times of clarity and confusion, you are with us.
In our tears of sorrow and our tears of joy, you are with us.
Eternal, ever living God, we thank you for your presence and we entrust ourselves to your care.
Each day this week I want us to reflect on one of the symbols of Holy Week and I want to give you each the opportunity to create your own visual reminder that will build up to Easter Day.
Each day we will cut out a tear drop shape, ideally from a newspaper or a magazine, I cut mine about the size of an A5 piece of paper, so about 15cm x 21cm, but size isn’t critical. You might want to cut yourself seven all at once and if they are all the same shape and size, your finished display will look much more pleasing.
So today is Day 1, take one tear drop shape and place it before you and on it place your Palm Cross, I hope you all have one…if not draw yourself a cross on your tear drop or cut one from a contrasting piece of paper. Now put this somewhere where you will see it during the day. Mine is on our kitchen table and will stay there all week to be added to each day. After all, we are on a journey, a journey following Jesus on his journey to the Cross and beyond.
Palm branches were scattered on the ground as Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, people shouted their support, ‘Hosanna, God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord’. Palms were used to symbolise goodness and victory, so on that day it seemed appropriate to scatter their palms on the road.
Listen to these Hymns:
Listen to this Palm Sunday Hymns:
These days we are asked to support so many causes and people. We have been asked to support the environment by reducing our plastic usage. We are asked to carry on supporting charities that have had to “shut up shop” during the coronavirus, we have been asked not to cancel our membership, but to let them carry on. We are in our actions shouting Hosanna, we are showing our support. We click “like” on Facebook pages to show we like and support ideas and things and people and the world can see what we do. So the world, or at least our little part of it, will see how we show our support, what we wave our palms for, who it is we follow and support. I hope that those who know us, know of our allegiance to Jesus and know why the Cross, and today the Palm Cross, mean so much to us. Our belief in God, our journey with Jesus, our encounters with the Holy Spirit are not separate to life, but are integral to it, a part of who we are, that is why we lay our symbols this week on sheets of newspaper, the two become one.
A closing prayer:
May the blessing of God who gave his Son for us, surround us with peace;
May the blessing of Jesus who rode into Jerusalem for us, give us peace;
May the blessing of the Holy Spirit poured out for us, burn within us and give us peace;
May our triune God bless us in our tears of sorrow and of joy;
This Holy Week, in these uncertain times and everyday.