This year as we move through this dark and wonderful week, we are going to remember the events of Jesus’ last week and try to place ourselves there with Him. We’ll use the Sonnets of Malcolm Guite (Sounding the Seasons from Canterbury Press) to encourage our reflection.

A Palm Sunday Painting — Kai Althoff

Today’s Bible reading

The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hail to the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.

Look, your King is coming,
    riding on a donkey’s colt.

His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!” — John 12:12-19

More thoughts for meditation

Palm Sunday

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The Saviour comes, But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune, I know what lies behind
Their surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The harness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple, Jesus come
Break my resistance and make me your home.

Suggestions for action

This week as we are quarantined across our church, we’d like to embody our meditation by having each of us do some physical activities to respond to the scripture and sonnets.  Our hope is to help each of us recollect how Jesus is with us throughout our day. We will gather online each evening, but before that time here are some suggestions:

Find a flat surface in your home that you can free from other objects. It could be an end table, coffee table, window sill, etc.  It’s best if this is in a central place that you will pass by throughout your daily activity. Placing a candle on it as a reminder that the Light of the World is with you is a good first step. Each day this guide will suggest that you find an object to place on this small sacred spot you’re creating that represents the movement of the day.  

Today we’re focused on breaking our resistance and inviting Jesus again (or for the first time!) to make a home in us.  So find something that symbolized that for you. A key opens doors. A can opener breaks a seal. Etc. Let your imagination be free. Place the item on your sacred space and pray this prayer with all of us:

Dear One – You come to our busy inner worlds again, ready to give us something unexpected.
We often resist in our ignorance of the Gift, afraid of the unknown and uncertain of our safety.
Break through to me this day, I pray as I try to listen and remember You are King over all.

Breath Prayer:  (Inhale): Break my resistance.  (Exhale): Make me Your home.

Set your phone to ring today at 3 hour intervals.  Traditional hours of prayers in monasteries would be 9am, 12pm, 3pm and lastly Vespers which we will set at 9pm this week.  Today, Palm Sunday, we will gather for our online worship at 5pm also. Monday – Thursday, we hope you will join us online for Vespers at 9pm.  When your phone rings at the hours today (or you just remember!) stop for a few moments at your sacred space and repeat the Breath Prayer for the day.  You could take several minutes in this pause or if it’s a busy time for you, just stop for a moment or so to draw your mind and heart consciously into God’s presence with you.

In times of stress like we are all experience during the pandemic, we need to attend to our minds, spirits and our bodies with care.  Sleep is particularly important for our bodies to combat the impacts of stress so be gentle with yourself and don’t neglect your need for sleep; however, we also need to turn our attention very consciously toward the positive. These interludes in your day are designed to offer help in this practice of attunement with God.  Find a rhythm that works for you and adjust the hours as needed.

You might want to show us your prayer object on social media. That could help us be together in this rhythm. If you do use #sacredspot2020

Today is Pandita Ramabai Day! Visit this South Indian who was one of the first Pentecostals at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.