Tomorrow is Palm/Passion Sunday, the day that marks the beginning of Holy Week, when day-by-day we remember Jesus’ final days, from lauded Son of David, to the host at an intimate, covenant-making last supper with friends, to betrayal by one of them, to the God-awful moments of his trial, torture, cross-bearing, crucifixion, death, and burial.
We wait for what seems like days in absolute desolation fearing not only that Jesus is lost to us, but that we are lost, without hope, without him. Locked behind the closed doors of our own grief and fear, we wait. And then, a rumor of resurrection, a tiny breath of hope, and suddenly, inside our fear and grief-frozen hearts, Jesus, the I Am, is.
Most years, the busyness of everyday, normal life carried us from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunrise with little time to savor all that happened, and is happening, in between.
This year, aside from nature’s amazing display of new life, it seems as if we are living in the midst of an entire season of passion weeks. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis’ Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe, “It is always Lent and never Easter.” I don’t think there is anyone alive who isn’t living with anxiety and fear. In the midst of COVID19 and all the repercussions of pandemic, there is still incredibly good news. “Aslan,” the Jesus figure in Lewis’ novel, “is one the move!” Jesus walked as a human, lived the whole sum of human experience, and modeled how to walk with eyes open to the sacred in the most difficult of times. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Emmanuel, is God with us, right here and right now.
As we live through this next week, it is my prayer that we will be able to journey together with Jesus. Let the words of John Philip Newell’s poem, Sounds of the Eternal become a guide as we take a long, loving look at our world, in the presence of Jesus.
Sounds of the Eternal
A poem by John Philip Newell
Early in the morning I seek your presence, O God,
not because you are ever absent from me
but because often I am absent from you
at the heart of each moment
where you forever dwell.
In the rising of the sun,
in the unfolding colour and shape of the morning
open my eyes to the mystery of this moment
that in every moment of the day
I may know your life-giving presence.
Open my eyes to this moment
that in every moment
I may know you as the One who is always now.
Keep your eyes open to the mystery of this moment.