I went to church yesterday.
After receiving communion, I kneeled in my space and watched the people come forward. The choir was singing, the organ was playing and my heart was resting quietly. I was grateful, in the moment, to experience peace. Old and young, electric wheelchair rider and then families, people of multiple colors, male and female – coming up the aisle with open hearts to receive Christ.
Like many of us, Covid altered my lifestyle and the routine of church was one of the casualties over the last two years. I attended worship and a variety of prayer experiences via Zoom, my contemplative life has deepened, but weekly attendance at my local parish changed. The time away changed me. I found other ways to connect with God’s love and, happily, my relationship with the Divine has grown. I suspect some of you have experienced an evolution in your prayer and worship in these years of the pandemic, too.
I went to church to enter into the mystery of Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. Truly a mystery, this sacred time invites us into lessons of death and the promise of resurrection. We hear of Jesus’ experience and are humbled by his example of surrender. We are reminded, friends, through this dramatic and powerful set of events, of God’s invitation to our surrender, to our dying, to our resurrection.
I am not speaking of our physical death. Instead, this invitation to join the Paschal Mystery asks us to accept the “little deaths” that we face everyday, the losses in relationships, the broken promises, the loss of control in our lives. This invitation asks us to accept and surrender, to move into the emotional space of “not-knowing” but still trusting. This movement invites us into a deeper layer of love, into a realm we may not be able to describe but when we arrive, it feels like home.
This year, Christian celebrations of new life coincide with the Jewish tradition of Passover. I am always grateful for that occasional overlap, for the stories of the Israelites exodus from slavery speak to the new life promised to peoples of deep faith in God. The stories and ritual of Passover spoke to Jesus. For centuries, human beings have been called to freedom from slavery, both external and internal, to trust the abiding presence of the Holy and the invitation to come home. You are in my prayer this week made holy by our human capacity for love and forgiveness, made holy by the Love that stretches through Divine presence toward our humble, human hearts.