Now, I feel this is a question that we ask every time there is a special news bulletin or update from the Government and Health Department. What are we going to have to stop doing next? How bad is it getting? When will it all finish?
In our journey towards Easter Sunday todays “what’s next?” is the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The waving of palm branches, the spreading of cloaks, and the shouting of praise and Hosannas.
Processions are common in the church, particularly at this time of Easter. Last year on Palm Sunday we processed up Murrumbeena Road to meet with the people from Murrumbeena Baptists at the train station. I know we were not the only group who did something similar and that a number of other churches processed around their local community. Palm Sunday is also the day we would usually head into the city and be part of the march for Justice for Refugees – but not this year. I had hoped we’d have the opportunity to march and meet with all the local churches, but things have changed and we have to do with what we have.
What we have might be just our family walking around the block waving leaves of some sort, or even palm leaves made out of paper, and shouting ‘Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ What we have might be watching a documentary or movie of Palm Sunday and jumping up and walking around the room yelling our Hosannas. This year we have to do with what we have.
We don’t necessarily have the ability to march together and gather to sing praises to the coming King, but if you read the telling that Luke gives us in chapter 19 (verse 40) Jesus tells the Pharisees that even if the people were silent and could not shout, the stones would shout – so listen for the stones and creation to shout praises to God.
What comes next after this procession are the days immediately leading up to Easter Sunday. Days which, over the past couple of years, we would come together to reflect upon. Thursday when we would come together to share in the last supper. Friday when we would come together to share in the telling of that day, and Saturday when we would sit quietly in the stillness and darkness of the time in the tomb. This year we will do all those things, but we will do them differently. We will share these days on Facebook, through zoom, and via YouTube. We will share these days as we sit and reflect and read through the liturgies that I am preparing.
What’s next will be different, but it will be special, it will be meaningful, and I hope and pray that it will be soul filling.