Sunday, April 01, 2007

palm sunday

i found milton's blog through real live preacher - and it's been such a wonderful gift through this lenten season. today's post puts into words how i feel this morning ready for worship:
At our church, we begin by gathering before church in the garden to bless the palms and then we process, singing, into the church to begin worship. The idea is wonderful and has been logistically challenging to coordinate the singing on the outside of the building with the music and singing on the inside. We’ve tried several things – opening windows (too cold), strategically placing choir members along the path – and some have worked better than others. Over the years, we’ve gotten better at it and we’ve learned that part of the deal is those of us processing into the church are never going to be exactly in sync with those inside until we all get inside together. That was never the point. We process because we, like the people in Jerusalem that day, are trying to understand who Jesus is and what he has done for us.

The first time around, I’m sure there was a much smaller gathering of the faithful at Golgotha than on what we have come to call Palm Sunday. Even the first Easter was not so well attended. I wonder how many years on it was before churches began putting out extra seating for the “Easter crowd.” I don’t know of any minister who doesn’t wonder what could be done to get more of those who come primarily on Christmas and Easter to participate more regularly and meaningfully in the congregation. The reasons for why people don’t find a more significant connection are as varied as the number of them who come: grief, pain, indifference, priorities, hurt feelings, time, to name a few. But on Easter, and maybe even Palm Sunday, they’re in the room.

Let’s start there. Don’t worry about the timing. Feed them.

I have mixed feelings as we gather in the garden with our palms each year. We wave our fronds and sing hosanna, emulating the people who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem, yet, as I read the story, we are emulating people who sort of missed the point. The king they were cheering for was not the one coming to town. Jesus rode into town on a donkey, not a valiant steed. Did they not notice that as they cheered? Whether fair-weather or faithful, few if any knew where the path they lined with their coats was heading. My feelings get mixed because I have a hard time coming to terms with identifying with them, which I need to do if I’m going to get to Easter. I miss the point too, even though I’ve always waved my palms knowing where the story goes. I still miss the point, sometimes.
read the whole post here and add him to your bloglines, you won't be disappointed!;

don't eat alone

1 comment:

don't eat alone said...

Thanks, Bobbie

I'm glad to find your words as well -- and only a couple days after you mentioned Bob Darden at the Door. We went to college together.