Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday 2013

At our Palm Sunday Parade service this morning, we took Luke’s account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as our starting-point, and played with the striking images of throwing cloaks on the ground before Jesus, and of the stones crying out in praise were we to fall silent.

I employed my clerical cloak (very handy in this inclement weather we are experiencing) to introduce the idea of cloaks – cultural images including Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak – as those things we hide behind.  With each of a series of examples – I am shy; I am fierce; I am dependable; I am invisible; I am needed; I am funny; I am lonely; I am unwell – we laid a cloak (old choir robes, no longer used but still lurking in the vestry wardrobe) down, forming a cross.

I had also taken thirty of the larger stones that mark out the Labyrinth in our Prayer Garden, and arranged them to form the name JESUS, or, ‘God Saves!’ and during the service the congregation were invited to join our praises with those of the stones, using permanent markers to write on them. Later today they will be returned to the Labyrinth.

People wrote a mix of praise and thanksgivings. It was wonderful to see how quickly and how many people came forward; and also to see younger members – especially the cubs and scouts – lift up stones so that older members, who could not get down on the ground (or if they had, would not have got back up) could join in.

Of course, what is always best is those things that aren't planned, but where, space having been created, the Holy Spirit moves over and within it. Afterwards, the stones were no longer in the form of letters, but in a mess – a powerful image reminding us that Palm Sunday leads on to Good Friday, where Jesus would be broken for us...

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