Palms, Passion, Year C

Musical Reflection
Carnival of the Animals: Wild Asses by Boston Pops Orchestra

helenas_dream_2008_original


Invocation

Lord of the swaying palms,
the stones of earth
and beasts of burden
bear witness to your coming:
lead us from the violence and collusion of empire
to a heart of flesh,
a world re-made
and new song for all creation;
through Jesus Christ, the crucified God.
Amen.

First Reading
The Donkey Speculates

by Kazuko Shiraishi
translated by Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumura

Should she call     or not
Even though she wants to call     the donkey     wonders
As if she had become a nation
The line might be tapped
It’s dangerous     to leak information     and
She thinks of the cute     mountain girl Heidi
Surrounded by sheep     mountain sheep     running through the
green fields
Heidi     of the sweet     lips
Isn’t she     too unsuspicious     too innocent     passionate     tossing
An ideal ball     to this side of the telephone
The donkey     like a housewife knitting     speculates
On this and that adding stitches     changing stitches

 

Second Reading
Scenes from “The Passion”: The Evening
by Liz Berry

There is an alley
where you can go,
where you can kiss
someone’s mouth
until you climb
inside them, force
your way in, push
your cells into their cells
and become one
creature — angelic.
It isn’t the way
you’d dream it.
There is piss,
dew-damp moss crawling
across the brick.
Some nights it is so dark
you must enter only
by touch.
Walk by in the light
and it will seem
like nothing.
The scripture
is written by wenches:
4eva, L+ J, I.T.A.L.Y.
A heart jagged in two.
But what you’ll make there
it’s not love,
it’s not weighed
down with that,
it’s feather, air,
an at-once exultation
of being not
of this time, this alley,
this shitty
good for no one,
shut-down town.
I never went there,
I promise you.
I never knew
such sweet violence.
Though there are mornings
now, miles from that place,
when I wake
with the thought of it:
wet and bitten, half-
winged.
Naomi, 1995_original

Gospel Reading 1
Luke 19:28-40

After Jesus said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.

As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “Its master needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it. As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.

As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. They said,

“Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”

Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”

He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”

Gospel Reading 2
John 12:12-16

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him. They shouted,

“Hosanna!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Blessings on the Ruler of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

Don’t be afraid, Daughter Zion.
        Look! Your Ruler is coming,
            sitting on a donkey’s colt.

His disciples didn’t understand these things at first. After he was glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

Gospel Reading 3
Luke 22:14-23:56

When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s Realm.” After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s Realm has come.” After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said,“This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.

“But look! My betrayer is with me; his hand is on this table. The Human One goes just as it has been determined. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays.” They began to argue among themselves about which of them it could possibly be who would do this.

An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest.

But Jesus said to them, “The leaders of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

“You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. And I confer royal power on you just as Abba God granted royal power to me. Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my realm, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat. However, I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your siblings.”

Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!”

Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times that you know me.”

Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out without a wallet, bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?”

They said, “Nothing.”

Then he said to them, “But now, whoever has a wallet must take it, and likewise a bag. And those who don’t own a sword must sell their clothes and buy one. I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in relation to me: And he was counted among criminals. Indeed, what’s written about me is nearing completion.”

They said to him, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”

He replied, “Enough of that!”

Jesus left and made his way to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived, he said to them, “Pray that you won’t give in to temptation.” He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed. He said, “Abba, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done.” Then a heavenly angel appeared to him and strengthened him. He was in anguish and prayed even more earnestly. His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he got up from praying, he went to the disciples. He found them asleep, overcome by grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation.”

While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd appeared, and the one called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him.

Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Human One with a kiss?”

When those around him recognized what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we fight with our swords?” One of them struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.

Jesus responded, “Stop! No more of this!” He touched the servant’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders who had come to get him, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, as though I were a thief? Day after day I was with you in the temple, but you didn’t arrest me. But this is your time, when darkness rules.”

After they arrested Jesus, they led him away and brought him to the high priest’s house. Peter followed from a distance. When they lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.

Then a servant woman saw him sitting in the firelight. She stared at him and said, “This man was with him too.”

But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him!”

A little while later, someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.”

But Peter said, “Man, I’m not!”

An hour or so later, someone else insisted, “This man must have been with him, because he is a Galilean too.”

Peter responded, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” At that very moment, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the Lord’s words: “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And Peter went out and cried uncontrollably.

The men who were holding Jesus in custody taunted him while they beat him.They blindfolded him and asked him repeatedly, “Prophesy! Who hit you?”Insulting him, they said many other horrible things against him.

As morning came, the elders of the people, both chief priests and legal experts, came together, and Jesus was brought before their council.

They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”

He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. But from now on, the Human One will be seated on the right side of the power of God.”

They all said, “Are you God’s Child, then?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

Then they said, “Why do we need further testimony? We’ve heard it from his own lips.”

The whole assembly got up and led Jesus to Pilate and began to accuse him. They said, “We have found this man misleading our people, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he is the Christ, a king.”

Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jewish people?”

Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.”

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no legal basis for action against this man.”

But they objected strenuously, saying, “He agitates the people with his teaching throughout Judea—starting from Galilee all the way here.”

Hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was from Herod’s district, Pilate sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus, for he had heard about Jesus and had wanted to see him for quite some time. He was hoping to see Jesus perform some sign. Herod questioned Jesus at length, but Jesus didn’t respond to him. The chief priests and the legal experts were there, fiercely accusing Jesus. Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt. Herod mocked him by dressing Jesus in elegant clothes and sent him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod became friends with each other that day. Before this, they had been enemies.

Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. He said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you have brought against him. Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done nothing that deserves death. Therefore, I’ll have him whipped, then let him go.”

But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.”(Barabbas had been thrown into prison because of a riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.)

Pilate addressed them again because he wanted to release Jesus.

They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For the third time, Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I’ve found no legal basis for the death penalty in his case. Therefore, I will have him whipped, then let him go.”

But they were adamant, shouting their demand that Jesus be crucified. Their voices won out. Pilate issued his decision to grant their request. He released the one they asked for, who had been thrown into prison because of a riot and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.

As they led Jesus away, they grabbed Simon, a man from Cyrene, who was coming in from the countryside. They put the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. Jesus turned to the women and said,“Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and your children. The time will come when they will say, ‘Happy are those who are unable to become pregnant, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed a child.’ Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ If they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

They also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Abba, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.

The people were standing around watching, but the leaders sneered at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he really is the Christ sent from God, the chosen one.”

The soldiers also mocked him. They came up to him, offering him sour wine and saying, “If you really are the king of the Jewish people, save yourself.” Above his head was a notice of the formal charge against him. It read “This is the king of the Jewish people.”

One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Abba, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time.

When the centurion saw what happened, he praised God, saying, “It’s really true: this person was righteous.” All the crowds who had come together to see this event returned to their homes beating their chests after seeing what had happened. And everyone who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance observing these things.

Now there was a man named Joseph who was a member of the council. He was a good and righteous person. He hadn’t agreed with the plan and actions of the council. He was from the Jewish city of Arimathea and eagerly anticipated God’s realm. This man went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid it in a tomb carved out of the rock, in which no one had ever been buried. It was the Preparation Day for the Sabbath, and the Sabbath was quickly approaching. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’s body was laid in it, then they went away and prepared fragrant spices and perfumed oils. They rested on the Sabbath, in keeping with the commandment.

 

 

Musical Reflection
The Rooster Moans by Iron and Wine

white_disease
Prayer
by Women’s Ordination Worldwide

God of Surprises,
you call us
   from the narrowness of our traditions
          to new ways of being church
  from the captivities of our culture
            to creative witness for justice
  from the smallness of our horizons
            to the bigness of your vision              

Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might call others to freedom and renewed faith
and that all might know the beauty and power and danger of the gospel.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Parent of the Universe,
manifesting thyself as generative energy,
Bend over us and remove
all that clutters our being
and set apart a place
where thy sacredness may dwell.
Fill us with thy creativity,
so that we may be empowered to bear
the fruit of thy vision.
Then, moving to the heartbeat of thy desire,
make us the embodiment of thy compassion.
Drawing from the ground of our humanity
grant that we may renew each other
with love, understanding, and sustenance.
Empty us of frustrated hopes and despair,
as we restore others to a renewal of vision.
And let us not fall into agitation,
but save us from precipitous actions.
For thou art the ground
of the fruitful vision, the birthing-power, and the fulfilment,
as all is gathered and made whole once again. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
Talk about the Passion by R.E.M.


Blessing

Bless to us, O God,
the doors we open,
the thresholds we cross,
the roads that lie before us.
Go with us as we go
and welcome us home.

May the blessing of God – the One From Whom, the One Through Whom,
and the One in Whom We Offer Our Praise
,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

o-FOR-900

Sources:

Artwork by Marlene Dumas

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Carnival of the Animals: Wild Asses by Boston Pops Orchestra

Poem The Donkey Speculates by Kazuko Shiraishi 

Poem Scenes from “The Passion”: The Evening by Liz Berry

Musical Reflection The Rooster Moans by Iron and Wine

Prayer by Women’s Ordination Worldwide

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Talk about the Passion by R.E.M.

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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