Passion (Palm) Sunday, March 25, 2018

Happy are those
Who do not follow the advice of the wicked
Or take the path that sinners tread
Or sit in the seat of scoffers

In the beginning
I held high a palm
[Am I doing it right?
My arm is getting tired.]
In springtime cool weather

A proud child
Celebrating Palm Sunday

With others
I sang and swayed

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

As we processed
Into church
Palm Sunday

Decades of life later
I held high a sign
[Hell no, we won’t go
Bring our boys home]
In springtime cool weather

An angry college student
Protesting war

With my friends
I sang and swayed

We shall not,
We shall not be moved

As we were
Carried off to jail

Decades of life later
I held high a sign
[They called B.S.
We betta listen]
In springtime cool weather

A retired professor
Protesting gun violence

With thousands
I sang and swayed

We shall not,
We shall not be moved

As we moved ourselves
Marching for our lives
Gun violence

One morning later
I held high a palm
[Jesus silent before Pilate
Emma silent before crowds]
In springtime cool weather

An uncertain Catholic
Celebrating Passion Sunday

With other worshippers
I sang and swayed

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

As we processed
Into church
Passion Sunday

Signs raised in protest

Palms raised in hope

Echoes reverberate

Growing stronger

We shall not,
We shall not be moved
We shall not,
We shall not be moved
Like a tree planted by the waters

Which yield their fruit in its season
And their leaves do not wither

We shall not be moved

The wicked are not so
But are like chaff that the wind drives away…

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous
But the way of the wicked shall perish


Psalm 1

Blessed can I be
If I avoid walking in anger
Standing around feeling sorry for myself
Sitting smugly judging others
Instead let me focus on the good
Turn my mind always to God’s positive
Then my life will take shape like a fruitful tree
Watered by fresh flowing streams
(“A tree that talks to God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray”)
I will not wither and shrivel into the negative
I will feel prosperous, nourished and nourishing
The alternative is not at all attractive
My life becomes like dead leaves
Blown every which way by discouraging thoughts
My tree will be bowed down, broken and uprooted
I will be unable to enjoy goodness and good people
The good choice supports light and life
The other choice brings darkness and a living death.  Amen

Psalm 2

I seem to have warring nations inside me
Different people plotting, striving, in vain
Too often, the winners take their stand against peace
Against Lady Wisdom
Then I see religion only as chains of duties
Fetters of narrow-mindedness
And yet I come back, again and again
To the glory and the light of the One in heaven
The One who can scoff at my naysayers
The One who can rebuke my depression
In God’s glory, gloom cannot stay
Up and up God takes my vision
To God’s holy Ruler on high
With relief, with gratitude I can say
That I belong to God, I get to claim God’s protection
God promises me a wonderful inheritance
The ability to conquer those warring nations inside me
So I remind myself to be wise
To serve the Ruler of light and rejoice
To kiss the Daughter of peace and turn away from depression and anxiety
Blessed are all who take refuge in Lady Wisdom.  Amen.

Psalm 3

O God, how many are my discouraging thoughts
How often they rise up against my peace
Many times I say to myself
“It’s hopeless. There is no God to deliver me.”
But here is what I want to believe
That You are a shield around me
That You bestow glory on me and lift up my life.
So to You I turn and cry aloud in my mind
Praying You will answer me from heights of holy hope
When I lie down and sleep
When I wake again, sustain me, please
Remind me
That I need not fear
The tens of thousands of discouraging thoughts
Ready to defeat me on every side, in every effort
Rise, Rise up above those pitfalls, oh my soul
Rise up to goodness and light
Deliver me, O my God
From the gaping mouths and sharp teeth
Of depression and despair,
From dark images and defensiveness
The God of light brings deliverance
May your blessing be on me as one of your people. Amen.

Psalm 4

Please answer me when I call to You
O my righteous God
Relieve my distress
Have mercy and hear my prayer
Otherwise, on my own, I turn glory into shame
I delude myself and seek false gods. Please & Praise
I need to remember that God has set apart the godly for goodness
I need to remember that God will hear me when I call
I truly do not want anger and envy to rule my life
When I lie in bed each night and search my heart
I want to find peace and silence. Please & Praise
I want to know that I have made good choices
That I have trusted in God
With many others, I ask “Who can show us any good?”
We can find the answer in the light of Your shining face, O God
Looking back on my life, I realize that You have filled my heart with greater joy
Than any riches or benefits, honors or achievements
When I remember this, I can lie down and sleep in peace
Knowing that in You alone, O God, I dwell in safety and goodness. Amen.

Psalm 5

Hear my words and my sighs, O God
Hear my cry for help, my sovereign God
For I don’t know where else to turn but to You
In the morning, every morning,
I will lay my needs before You
And then wait with hope
Knowing that You do not promote wrong-headedness
You destroy lies, envy and deceit
Only by Your great mercy will I be able to come into Your house
And bow down to You
Only if You lead me in Your merciful righteousness
Away from the wrongness that is the enemy I fear
Only if You make straight Your way for me
Away from the crooked wrong way
Where I can’t trust my own thoughts or feelings
Away from the treacherous sinkholes
Of depression and self-disgust
Deceit and envy
I need Your help, O God, to recognize them
Declare them unworthy
Banish them!
They have no place in merciful righteousness
Love and gratitude, generosity and kindness
Courage and laughter
Faithfulness and light:
Let these have Your protection and help
Be my refuge and gladness
I want to sing with joy
Protect me
Help me to love goodness and rejoice in righteousness
For surely, O God, You bless merciful righteousness
You surround goodness with Your shield. Amen.