O Lord Jesus Christ, who on this day entered the rebellious city which later rejected you: We confess that our wills are just as rebellious, that our faith is often more show than substance, that our hearts are in need of cleansing. Have mercy on us, Son of David, Savior of our lives. Help us to lay at your feet all that we have and all that we are, trusting you to forgive what is sinful, to heal what is broken, to welcome our praises, and to receive us as your own. Amen.
(copyright © 2011 Reformed Church Press)
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“Although aware of the danger, Jesus at a certain point ‘set[s] his face to go to Jerusalem’ (Luke 9:51). Later, after he raises Lazarus, the threats against him intensify into a death plot. Now he arrives in the city with its teeming pilgrims and hostile Pharisees. As we rehearse his messianic entrance on this last Sunday of Lent, we sing with exuberance and we wince with foreboding. ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’ actually expresses both impulses–our joyous praise to the King and our humble plea for a Savior–since the literal meaning of hosanna is ‘Save, I pray.’ It is a fitting way to start a holy week.”
From Living the Christian Year, by Bobby Gross, 159 (emphasis mine)
* * *It’s Palm Sunday in the abbey. The monks have invited their guests to join them in the procession into church. Four girls, their catechism teachers, and myself. It’s a rag-tag procession, and the children wave their palms self-consciously. No matter. It will have to do. The hour is on us.
At Mass I stand alongside the youngest girl. She stares at the celebrant as if at a flame, her eyes wander around the great candy box of a church, its pretty angels and painted vines, lilies spinning around the Christ Child. She seems to be too young for the first communion, but she’s careful to do what everyone else does, which is mostly standing still.
Yet we move, and change. Her life crosses mine, and there is no name for it. The quantum effect. Communion. At about her age I refused to believe that Jesus dies; I wonder if I believe it yet. I wonder what what she knows of death, if she, too, will run from pain, to a dark beyond telling, if she will find God there, for the touching and tasting.
The girl stares at her hands where bread has fallen as if from heaven, and looks around wildly, face aflame. “Do I eat this?” she wonders, half-aloud. “Yes,” I whisper. “Yes.”
From The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, 173