A Holy Grapes Solo Worship Experience
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest
Today is Palm Sunday, a day of pageantry and celebration, processions of palms and the beginning of Holy Week. With our regular church services moving on-line we can wave our palms from our home and watch worship on Facebook. But these days, as we live in quarantine, I’m finding hope in reading and experiencing worship solo – in God’s Garden – which for me today is at the Occoneechee Speedway, outside of Hillsborough, NC. Formerly a NASCAR Racetrack, it’s now simply a quiet place for walkers, and joggers (and spiritual seekers) to find exercise outside.
This is the very day God acted—Psalm 111:24, The Message Bible
let’s celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
Oh yes, God—a free and full life!
We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.Romans 5:2, The Message Bible
IN GOD’S GARDEN
All week, I’ve heard people ask “What time is it? What day is it?” as we adjust to routines and schedules of our own making. As I’ve said in Entering the God Season, we are now walking the Lenten journey quite literally, and Easter won’t be symbolically transporting our lives back to normal this year. We’ve entered a God Season, and we may not know what time or day for a long while to come – “normal” is a long way out.
It is hard to recognize ourselves outside of our “normal”. Mowing the lawn yesterday brought on an anxiety attack – I realized that I’m simply one of billions right now praying for comfort, support, and reassurance that my life and work have meaning in this world so disrupted by a virus. Yes, one in billions – one simple soul – crying out for relief. God’s hands are full. Who am I to ask one more thing from God right now?
Yet, we do need hope. We do need something solid to hold onto in a world where our routines and vocation mean very little right now – when time is all we have, yet seems to be slipping around us elusively at the same time. We are all adventures in God Season – many of us on a new journey – and we are excited and apprehensive as to where the journey will take us when we come back into our communities someday.
Today, is Palm Sunday. We shout “Hosanna!” We get to wave palms. Today is a beautiful spring day. I’m outside in God’s Garden. Yes, while I lament being one in billions, I do realize that this day matters. God has thrown wide open the door with open arms, and we are invited in to a greater opportunity for growth and change than we have ever known.
THIS IS THE DAY…LET US REJOICE
A response, from Richard Rohr, excerpted from his book The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe:
If we see the Eternal Christ Mystery as the symbolic Alpha Point for the beginning of what we call “time,” we can see that a history and evolution indeed have an intelligence, a plan, and a trajectory from the very start. The Risen Christ, who appears in the middle of history, assures us that God is leading us somewhere good and positive…God has been leading us since the beginning of time, but now God includes us in the process.
Humans and history both grow slowly. We expect people to show up at our doors fully transformed and holy before they can be welcomed in…but a change of consciousness can only come with time – and patience ends up being the very shape of love.
Oh Heavenly God, please hear our prayers:
For those of us needing routine medical checkups and doctor visits, oh God, hear our prayers.
For activists and those working on issues of fair pay and seeking justice for all workers at this time, oh God, hear our prayers.
For those children still separated from their parents at our borders, with no hope for reunion, oh God, hear our prayers.
Continued prayers for all the first responders, doctors, nurses, paramedics, working tirelessly on the front lines, oh God, hear our prayers.
Continued prayers for our religious and spiritual leaders and pastors, working to meet the spiritual and physical needs of congregations while social distancing, oh God, hear our prayers.
Continued prayers for those with mental health issues in these days, oh God, hear our prayers.
Oh God, as we walk quietly in your garden, rejoicing for each day you grant us grace and peace of mind, we seek patience, in ourselves and with others. We are all walking into a new season, a God Season, and we don’t know how we will emerge on the other side or who we might be. It’s with hope we will all be a little kinder, more forgiving, and more just with one another when we emerge from your garden into community again.
For all these things we pray, in the name of Jesus, who chose to be born and live amidst us, to love us and to die for us, Amen.
COMMUNION and HOLY GRAPES
I have no wine or bread. All I have are these grapes. They haven’t been blessed by the pastors, or prayed over before communion. I cannot consecrate the grapes myself, but I am in God’s Garden, and all that is here, including the grapes, are holy.
I think about my beloved community, my pastors and my friends. I long for the love and hugs that come with communion, but today, that longing is filled with gratitude and love.
May the peace of God be with you and yours this Palm Sunday. Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!