Into your hands...
we have seen
how much you love us.
You set your face toward Jerusalem,
gave your body to the whips,
your face to the slaps.
And with your last breath
taught us how
“Into your hands, Father, I commend my spirit.”
Help us be truly present
The poem above is from The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University.
Debra Dean Murphy writes of Palm Sunday in a blog post Palms and Passion: The Work of Holy Week:
That we call these long, dense narratives “liturgies” reminds us that when we read and hear them we are not innocent bystanders–we are implicated in the stories; we have “work” to do in them (“liturgy” = leitourgia = “work of the people”). We are the crowd along the streets of Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” and we are the same mob on Good Friday screaming, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” As Fleming Rutledge has noted, “the liturgy of Palm Sunday is set up to show you how you can say one thing one minute and its opposite the next. This is the nature of the sinful human being.”The full text of her post is online here: Palms and Passion: The Work of Holy Week.
In looking at the cruxifixion, Rutledge also says this: “What we see and hear in Jesus’ death is not just his solidarity with the victims of this world. It is that, but it is not only that. What we see and hear in the Cry of Dereliction is Jesus’ identification in his Cross not only with the innocent victims of this world but also with their torturers . . . What Jesus assumes on the Cross is not only the suffering of innocents but also the wickedness of those who inflict suffering.”
And when Jesus says, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), “he makes himself one, not only with my pain but with my sin–because I myself, and you yourselves, and all of us ourselves, are sometimes victims of others and sometimes torturers of others and sometimes both, and when we recognize this we are, as Jesus says to the scribe, ‘not far from the kingdom.’”
To know this deeply is to do the “work” of Holy Week.
Labels: Palm Sunday