Beloved Saint Luke Community,
So we enter Holy Week and will remain physically apart, but spiritually united. At the beginning of Lent we listened-in on a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. At one point Jesus said to him: “I, when I am lifted up, will draw all people to myself.” The “lifting up” is the cross. On Palm Sunday we will hear from the Passion of St. Matthew and go to the cross with Jesus. His “lifting up” will draw us to Jesus, draw us to the Triune God, draw us together as Saint Luke church, draw us together with the Body of Christ in heaven and on earth, draw us together with all creation. Here are some things to think about as we prepare for the Palm Sunday liturgy.
Read the Passion according to Matthew (chapters 26 and 27) before Sunday. The Good Friday portion will be read during the liturgy and the entire Passion According to St. Matthew will be included in the bulletin download.
Light a candle at your worship space. Perhaps place a religious picture or icon by the candle.
For the Blessing of the Palms place a houseplant, or a trimmed branch from an evergreen at your worship space. Here is a link for a palm that you can download and color (might be fun for the children in the home!)
4. Imagine the folks you sit by in church and say a prayer of gratitude for them. Or imagine those with whom your shared worship in the past. Pray for them. In prayer we can re-member the Body of Christ.
5. Place a bowl of water by your worship space to remind you of your baptism. Dip your hand in the water and make the sign of the cross on your forehead when we say the Creed, and when we leave the liturgy. (On Maundy Thursday we will place a towel by the bowl).
6. Place some pictures at your worship space of loved ones-in this world, or departed, who will be on year heart and remembrance during the Prayer of the Church.
7. Take a picture of your worship space and send it to Lisa Maggiore, editor of the e- letter, and Adam Mead, who manages our Facebook page. The picture can include people, your cup of coffee by the candle, whatever you would like to share. We will begin sharing these to help keep alive a sense of the Saint Luke family in Christ, and in this challenging time together.
I leave you with these words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we prepare for entering this Holy Week of the Passion of Christ in the midst of such an unsettling time. He reflects on what he did in the middle of the night after receiving another phone call threatening his life.
“I got out of bed and began to walk the floor. Finally I went to the kitchen and heated a pot of coffee. I was ready to give up. I tried think of a way to move out of the picture without appearing to be a coward. In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had almost gone, I determined to take my problem to God. My head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. L The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory. “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking at me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I’ve nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”
At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never before experienced him. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying, “Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth. God will be at your side forever.” Almost at once my fears began to pass from me. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything. The outer situation remained the same, but God had given me inner calm.” (from Strength To Love)
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Stephen Paul Bouman