Today is palm Sunday. Traditionally, normally, we would gather on the village green to bless palms and process to the church, whose doors symbolise this day the gates of Jerusalem. As they are opened and chants intoned so holy week begins. Christ enters Jerusalem and is now on his way to the Cross. We are called to follow every step of the way.
This year there is to be no procession. I wonder if and when this last occured in England? Nor are we allowed to bless palms for distribution to the faithful. Instead a simple service must be offered on behalf of the congregation by clergy alone in buildings whose doors cannot be flung open. It is profoundly difficult to accept and feels wrong for us as Christians. Yet plague is upon us and sanctions have been put in place for our safety. It is these that prohibit us from gathering.
Perhaps this dislocation, this period of deprivation, can be used to our advantage this meagre Holy Week? Perhaps our absence can make our hearts grow fonder as we yearn for Christ and hunger for Sacraments we so often take for granted? Doubtless this will be true for the devout. But the nominal will doubtless slip away. As on the first holy week I suspect our Saviour will have few disciples remaining faithful this year.
One way to keep holy week and not slide is to make use of our live streamed services. Today a simple Palm Sunday liturgy, with a short sermon, will be live streamed on our Facebook page at 9:30am. You do not need to join facebook to view it and can watch later if necessary. Do please join us. Do take part.
And if watching do leave a comment. It is wonderful to know who is watching. So far the services have been watched by several hundred each day. Which is very encouraging. But it would be lovely for us priests to know who they are! We miss you.