We all know that this year’s Palm Sunday will feel very strange, as we continue to be unable to gather together. I have a supply of Palm crosses, but I cannot distribute them at this time. When we are back to normal life, I will be delighted to give you one. And I don’t suppose I’ll be able to pat a donkey this year either.
I notice a suggestion from the Diocese of Lincoln: make your own palm cross from paper or card (or maybe, if safe, there’s a plant leaf you could use from your garden if you have one?…that’s my own thought), and then display it in your window. Children might enjoy making a paper or card one, and colouring it. You might be able even to put a branch in your window?
The Church of England has recently published documents outlining suggestions of ways to observe Holy Week and Easter at home. Please see: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-parishes/holy-week-and-easter-2020.
Huw Jenkins and I are working on trying to have a service on Zoom for Easter Day, and hope I can send you details of this next week, all being well. I have also recorded a short video which can be viewed on the Shingay Churches Youtube channel.
The Palm Sunday gospel is Matthew 21:1-11. This Sunday has two names, usually Palm Sunday, but sometimes it is also referred to as Passion Sunday (confusingly the previous Sunday is referred to as that too in the BCP). At some services, instead of the account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, there is a long reading. If you’d like to read that, it’s Matthew 26:14. – 27:66. The two names to the day can be a reminder of the mystery of life that Jesus embraced. We can see some very beautiful signs of Spring, and aren’t we fortunate to live somewhere where we can easily see that? Yet despite these encouraging signs, confined to our homes for so much of the time, it is easy to become downhearted. I read a little piece by Michael T Hayes written for Palm Sunday I think over 15 years ago, which struck a chord:
“We are tempted to live out of terror—or even worse—indifference—rather than to trust in our God who is with us and for us. It has become easier to ride out of the city than to ride into it, to break our promises rather than keep them, to deny the possibility of a new beginning. But this morning we ride with confidence into the city of Jerusalem…on Friday we dare to call the day ‘Good’ because even in the midst of death we proclaim life.”
The Collect for Palm Sunday
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example
of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen