Posted by: jaimemwsanders | April 3, 2020

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord

At my church, there is a box of palm leaves waiting for people who aren’t coming this year. The altar has been bare even of greenery during Lent. Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, fans of palm branches bring a foretaste of the flowers to come.

But this year, the church will be empty on Palm Sunday. It will be empty on Easter. No choir singing “Alleluia!” No white and gold vestments. No massed lilies. No children hearing the story of the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem, or being amazed at an empty tomb.

But Palm Sunday and Easter are not ends in themselves. We gather together for a purpose: to be transformed by God’s grace and, in our turn, to transform the world.

Not the whole world, but our little corner of it.

And so the church is not empty; the church is dispersed.

The people are the church. People who are staying home to not endanger their neighbors. People who are sewing masks for friends who need to be at work. People who are calling their fellow parishioners who live alone, checking up on them and sharing a virtual coffee hour. People who trying to keep their family’s business afloat, who are at work providing essential services. Parents who are learning to teach children who would normally be at school, and children who are learning to help their parents at home.

When Jesus’ followers accompanied him into Jerusalem, they proclaimed, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Who is it who comes into our lives in the name of the Lord? It is not the one who loudly proclaims this of themselves. It is the one who, when we see them coming, we say, “thank you, God!”

The one who comes in the name of the Lord might be a Christian, or a Jew, or a Buddhist, or “spiritual but not religious.” They might be wearing a surgeon’s white coat, or a blue shirt with their name on a badge. This Palm Sunday, may God give us the grace to recognize and give thanks for the person in the world who comes in the name of the Lord. Who brings a blessing into our lives.


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