Sunday, April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday

Aaaah, Holy Week is here with Palm Sunday. I was thrilled to arrive at Lake Murray this morning and see palm fronds laid out at the base of the stairs that go upstairs to the sanctuary. In the foyer, smaller fronds were on the information area and a small frond was under a bird's nest filled with speckled Easter eggs. Inside the sanctuary were smaller fronds along the back wall and huge ones standing upright on the stage. For years and years at this church we had no mention of Palm Sunday, no palms, nothing at all different to mark the day. I would have preferred the Scripture verses about Jesus coming into Jerusalem, but the kids got it all heavily in their Sunday School classes, with T bringing home some real fronds and B making a paper one.

The Anglican Church on Palm Sunday reads Matthew 27 together, everyone taking parts such as Pilate, Pilate's wife, Christ, narrator, and everyone else is the crowd crying out "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Powerful stuff -- I wish I could have been there. I'm sure it's hard to cry out to crucify our Lord, but then it's our own sin that sent Him to the Cross in the first place. In the pictures from Alpine Anglican, the crucifix is covered in purple cloth, with palms tied behind in an X. The congregation made palm crosses together after the service so they can display and save the palms to burn for next year's Ash Wednesday service: today's palms become next year's ashes. Pretty cool thing, I think.

As Holy Week begins, I desire to fast from sweets (I've been doing a terrible job this Lent so hope to do better this last and most important week) and on Good Friday I want to do an oatmeal/rice fast. As I have hypoglycemia, I can't fast completely, but will take only the simplest of substance to keep my blood sugar level. I will also read only Christian books this week, focusing especially on Devotional Classics by Richard Foster. I had planned to read it over Lent but got behind, so I'm hoping to catch up this week. I'm going to continue reading the novel I've been working on for a couple of weeks, Michael D. O'Brien's Cry of Stone, which is about faith, sacrifice, and art. O'Brien is a Catholic writer and visual artist from Canada, and this work is very unlike previous works I've read by him, like Father Elijah. It's more than proper and helpful literature for Holy Week.

I also hope to attend services with Alpine Anglican this week. Wednesday is a Passover Seder, Maundy Thursday a footwashing, Good Friday an ecumenical Stations and an evening service, and Holy Saturday an evening vigil. I'm looking forward GREATLY to Holy Week, as I always do. May the Lord use it to change and soften my heart toward Him and make me ever more grateful for Christ's sacrifice once for all, and especially for me.

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