A Guided Meditation for Palm and Passion Sunday
Palm and Passion Sunday (2021)
Santa Fe Episcopal Church
San Antonio, TX
The Rev. Derek M Larson, TSSF
Today’s Lectionary Readings:
The Liturgy of the Palms
The Liturgy of the Word
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Today, in our liturgical calendar, is called both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. It is the beginning of Holy Week and we listen to the stories of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem where he was praised and celebrated but also where he would be arrested, tortured, and killed. It is a time for deep reflection, prayer, and remembrance. It is a time to listen more and speak less, so this morning I’ll keep this very short.
This week I was reading a Palm Sunday sermon by one of my heroes of the faith San Oscar Romero and he points out that liturgy is not just about remembering, but participating in the life of Christ. So as we listen to the words of the liturgy describe Jesus come into the city of Jerusalem, we have to remember that Jesus is also coming into our own cities and contexts as well. The meaning of Palm Sunday is that Christ is coming not just into Jerusalem but into our own lives. The meaning of Passion Sunday is not just that Christ suffered and died, but that Christ knows our own suffering and deaths.
I invite you then, this morning, to not just remember Christ’s coming and passion, but to participate in it. If you’re comfortable I invite you to close your eyes for a moment as I lead you through a meditation. Sit in a comfortable but alert position and take a deep breath. Now bring to mind the things that burden you. Bring to mind the things about which you are worried. Bring to mind the things that give you fear and pain and heartache. What is it in your life that feels too heavy to bear? Hold that in your mind for just a few seconds. Feel the weight of it.
Now imagine you are at the gates of Jerusalem. And you see in front of you Jesus. He is coming towards you. And as he draws closer he sees you. He looks at you and you can see the wrinkles around his eyes and the compassion in his face. And even though you can feel the weight of all your burdens, as Jesus’ looks at you, you feel hope. Like somehow it’s going to be better. You see grace.
As Jesus finally comes to where you are he reaches out and takes your hand and walks past you, beckoning you to follow. And so you do. And as you turn, under the weight of your burdens and look to see Jesus a few steps ahead of you, you notice that he is carrying his cross. And so you follow Jesus. He carrying his cross, and you carrying yours. And you walk up the hill together. Slowly, step by step, under the pressure of its weight you walk. Until you finally reach the top.
But suddenly at the top of the hill is a tomb. Still carrying your burden you enter the dark and damp place and stop. And finally kneeling down, you lift your burden from your shoulders and place it on the ground. You pause to take a deep, expansive breath. And then you slowly stand and turn and walk out of the darkness. And a stone is rolled in front of the opening. Your burden buried and waiting to be transformed.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.