Palm Sunday Reflection: Meg Stapleton Smith
One of my favorite spiritual practices is Lectio Divina. In Lectio Divina (literally translated as divine reading), we become immersed in a Scripture story by envisioning ourselves as one of the characters. I ask myself, what would it have been like to be sitting on a hillside listening to Jesus tell stories in parables? Or to be one of the onlookers as Lazarus walked out of the tomb he was buried in? In this simple imaginative exercise, I always find myself encountering God in new and unexpected ways.
I would invite you all to join me in envisioning this Holy Week as a seven day practice of Lectio Divina – to enter into and consider yourself as a part of this sacred story. On Palm Sunday, our Holy Week begins as Jesus enters Jerusalem. Our Gospel passage today gives an overview of what is to come -- then each day this week we delve a little bit deeper into a part of the story. As you listen to the passage, ask yourself – what character do you see yourself as? Where are you in this story? And (the most challenging question for me) how does it feel to be in the place where you are standing? What is your embodied, visceral reaction as you envision yourself standing on the road watching Jesus enter Jerusalem? Do you throw your cloak on the road? Do you recognize Jesus as the Messiah and chant “hosanna,” as he passes by? Are you Mary who (on Monday) will anoint Jesus’ feet? Do you let Jesus wash yours on the night before he dies? How does it feel to be at the table with Jesus that night, and to watch him break the loaf of bread for the last time on earth? Do you stand at the foot of the cross with him as he takes his final breath?
We have a long way to go before we are able to stand next to the open tomb. Before then, we must immerse ourselves in this sacred narrative. And on Palm Sunday we begin our journey. I invite you to consider the ways in which you are a part of this story, and allow yourselves to be surprised by the ways God shows up as you do. There is little doubt that this Holy Week will be different from the others that we have experienced. So we make holy the place we are. We enter into the story. And we allow our faith and discipleship to be transformed in the process.