This last Sunday was palm/passion Sunday and worship almost didn’t happen. After three weeks of gorgeous weather it snowed again…and a lot. I made the call Sunday morning mostly out of stubbornness. It was Palm/Passion Sunday and we were going to worship. Mike Osborne and I called around and let people know that we would still be having worship, but that they should come with caution. How appropriate, on the Sunday in which we hear the chants of humanity turn from “Hail the King!” to “crucify him!” Nothing about this Sunday is easy to understand.
In true Blackburn’s Chapel style, Martha created some beautiful four foot palms for us to process in with. This Sunday’s turn was greatly highlighted by these palms. For the first part of the service, when the crowd is welcoming Christ into Jerusalem, the Palms stood on our altar, welcoming Christ. But when the crowd’s chants turned to “crucify him,” the palms were removed and we were left with a stark, empty sanctuary.
The contrast between the palms presence and the absence of decoration set us up for the dissonance of Holy Week. The week we hold things together that do not belong together: Kingship and footwashing, death and life, mourning and rejoicing. And, as Lindsay R. has written, this is especially for Blackburn House a time of both rest and doing; frost and planting, waiting and planning as we wait for the weather to turn warm enough to begin cultivating our garden. But we hold all these things together this week, anyway. And as we look toward that Friday that marks the last breath of Christ, (the Friday we call “good”), we remember that the holy mystery in which Christ gave himself for us is just that: a holy mystery. It is beyond our comprehension. But this is a mystery we are invited into. And we know that if we do not accept that invitation, the rocks will rejoice in our place.