Monday, April 18, 2011

The Day After Palm Sunday (or "Monday in Holy Week")

Less than an hour ago I finished praying Noonday Prayer as the first in the series of daily liturgies we will move through this Holy Week. We'll repeat Noonday Prayer tomorrow and Wednesday, then move to Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar at 7 p.m. on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday Liturgy and Solemn Collects at Noon on Good Friday, Procession with the Cross from Cambrian Park Plaza Shopping Center at 6 p.m. followed by the Stations of the Cross, then joining Trinity Cathedral on Saturday evening for the Great Vigil of Easter. All in all, a full week!

But for today, it was just me in a semi-darkened church reading Noonday Prayer, surrounded by the Palm Sunday decorations (palm branches reaching to the sky, palm fronds scattered in front of the altar, a lone palm cross left on the floor at the church entrance, etc...). As I prayed, I thought: "What must have that first Monday been like?" After the chaos, celebration, and fear of Palm Sunday, what might it have been like the day after? Perhaps some loose palm fronds scattered along the road, an expectant hush over the city wondering where the revolution (and the revolutionaries!) went, and everywhere the remnants of what must have been a wild day. In a short time, all of the palms will be gone from the church. In likely as short of a time, all traces of celebration would have been gone from the streets of Jerusalem.

I keep thinking about all of the "players" in this drama--Jesus, the disciples, the Pharasees, the crowds--what were they up to that first Monday? A week later and it would all be over--literally, death would be vanquished and the resurrected Jesus would begin a succession of appearances to his disciples. But, for now, the remnants of a celebration, and an expectant waiting....

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