On Egregious Twaddle, Joanne McPortland talks about her experience of Palm Sunday, and invites us to join her in a meditation. After sharing her feelings about the Palm Sunday reading, where the congregation takes the part of the crowd, she says:
…I had the privilege of being part of Palm Sunday in another, more joyful way today. After Mass, I zipped over to Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church, and in a parking-lot quick change worthy of Superman’s phone booth, transformed myself with skirts and scarves into Tamar the Tea Seller, part of the Jerusalem Marketplace reenactment that my friend Wendy Symonds runs every year as an intergenerational Christian formation event. (I was standing in for the usual tea seller.) Adults portray various merchants and craftspeople of Jerusalem, while parishioners, especially the children, rove from booth to booth. We remain in character and ask all we meet if they have news of Jesus. I had some amazing conversations–children who argued whether he was riding on a donkey or a colt, one young man who professed to be the boy whose loaves and fish Jesus had multiplied, and a couple of men who tried to get me to agree that Jesus should overthrow the Romans. (I told them I never mixed politics and commerce.) “I haven’t seen him yet,” one young girl confessed, “but I’m going to keep looking. And if I find him, I’ll bring him back to you.”
This day begins a week in which the world finds Jesus and brings him back to us, over and over. We are joyful palm wavers and gossipy tea sellers, Passover pilgrims, owners of colts and renters of party rooms, and as the week goes by we will be more and more those jeerers and spitters, deniers and runaways. And the silence of Golgotha will deafen us.
So on this Palm Sunday night I step back a little from the all-too-human pageant ahead, and reflect on a handful of silent inanimate objects that leapt out at me from Mark’s Passion account this morning. Three jars, three cups, three lengths of cloth, a mini-retreat to take myself through this holiest, most harrowing of weeks.