We now begin the holiest week of the year. My friends and Anonymous Angels, we have experienced a Lenten season unlike any other, no matter what our age. We are aware of pain, grief, separation, and the global zeitgeist of fear overwhelmed at the same time by extraordinary generosity and heroism. We seem to careen from the negative to the positive, from fear to courage, from despair to joy. The virus has unplugged global human emotion all the while inspiring us to reach out – to touch in spirit – the underlying community we may have taken for granted.
I believe this is what happened on that first Palm Sunday. The underlying community, wanting desperately to believe in this man, wanting him to cure their illnesses, rectify their inequality and establish a political system in which they would prosper, this community hailed him, paraded him into their holiest city and called him “king”.
Can we imagine some of the anxiety Jesus felt? He does not choose a horse to ride; that would mean he is a warrior. No, he chooses a donkey, the cultural symbol of a man of peace. The choice escapes the crowd. They say he is a king. They sing to him, rally to him, tear at his garments, grab his hands. He knows the adulation will crumble as soon as they hear him say in Pilate’s court that his kingdom is not of this world. Holy Week is all about the misinterpreted teachings and promises of Jesus heard even by his selected apostles and disciples to the massive crowds of peasants and leaders throughout these past three years. Except for his women friends, no one had caught on to Christ’s message. Can we imagine what he felt?
I will miss the physical presence of my faith community this week, especially Holy Thursday, my favorite day of the year, and Good Friday. To handle this emptiness, I will spend as much time possible with the Scripture of the days and seek out virtual services. I encourage you to do the same. A certain aloneness will mark those times as they did for Jesus.
I’ve been thinking of the strain on grocery workers, pharmacists and healthcare workers throughout this pandemic. And I’m thinking of and praying for the sick and elderly and the many grieving families whose grief is held in some vaporous abeyance as they bury their dead without the comfort of friends and family.
Many years ago, I underwent a surgery that pretty much frightened me, especially as I opened my eyes to the first post-op night alone in my room. Suddenly, over the address system came a mellow voice offering a prayer for anyone who wanted to listen. I offer this prayer to you so that when it seems that the furies have been unleashed all over this world causing havoc and evil, you might say this prayer as night descends and perhaps find peace. I know I did.
“Watch, O Lord, with those who wake,
or watch, or weep tonight,
and give Your angels and saints
charge over those who sleep.
Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest Your weary ones.
Bless Your dying ones.
Soothe Your suffering ones.
Pity Your afflicted ones.
Shield Your joyous ones,
and all for Your love’s sake. Amen.”
Pray this week with your scripture recalling the events of the passion. Make a conscious effort in your prayer to connect spiritually with others who need your prayer. Yes, who need your prayer!
I wish all of you a most fulfilling Holy Week and a Blessed, Holy Easter.
You are in my prayers, my deepest, most loving prayer this Week.