Palms Sunday

We remember how you put palms in our hands,

palms in our open ,naked hands. Hands that once

tapped tapped keep tapping on wood and on flesh.

Before these ritual cleansings and gloves ond trash

Palms in our hands, hands that once lifted , opened drifted and dropped.

We consider all our sins like deadly viruses on these hands caught.

Palm of our hands are dirty cursed hands that infect

tap tap tapping on our keyboard and screen without effect

faking loving and contact with people alone and unseen

palms of our hands we proudly think of as clean

dropping and depressed alone weary and lean

We shake fist in judgement at the sight of your open hands

we cannot see palms of justice nor palms of mecy’s command

so tap tap tapping as we bang shout at door and demand

“What are you doing God? Why is death creeping  across the land?”

Palms of your hands , oh the palms of your hands too far away to see!!!

Cannot believe they are surrendered , bruised crushed , stretched , nailed to a tree!

yet , now and then , we heal without knowing or holding the palm of your hands

palms of love, palms of compassion that have roots from Eden to the plank

Burrowing driving digging demanding justice rank upon rank

Yet tap tapping bleeds love from the nails in the palm of your hand.

Where you reply to us by your justice these palms from Mercy’s command

Tap tapping at every soul bent across sick shore and sick land

“where were you child when I killed my son like a lamb?

see you were here  child , then  as now , in the palm of my hand”

________________________________________

“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:67‬ ‭KJV‬‬

 “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭49:16‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of the palm of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?””

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 

 

Entrance Antiphon

“The biggest  closet is the church “the old woman told the child. “But we cant go there  Grammy ,the doors are locked” the child told the old woman. “I will take you to a secret one “the old woman whispered as they walked down the sidewalk.

Today side by side they walk towards a chapel. It is a very strange day in history when all the churches are  closed like vaults because of a virus. Still, the old woman took the child in hope ..in Hope the child might know God. 

Fifty years earlier, I was child. I rode my bike many places. It was long before it became common for men and women to abduct and abuse, before it became dangerous to ride without helmets and phones, before bikes had many styles and gears. It was in the days when a red Schwinn bike could take you to the biggest prayer closet in town. And so it took me one day, my first day of worship in a church. 

I was very thirsty on my ride and found the park waterfountain out of water . So I thought if the church was open they may have water. I pulled the door open. It was like Alice opening into a wonderland. Suddenly I realized  I  also might find out about a question I asked my mother the night before. “Who is God?”

A friend , Susan McGahee , talked  every day about “God”  as if  he was someone in her family . She would often introduce me to “God” by referring to him often and saying I needed to meet Him.  But  everytime I  would say ” God” , it  felt awkward. I was certain it sounded to her I might not like him. I was somewhat suspicious since my father had told me to not trust people that talked about “God”. And I just wanted to know it wasnt someone she made up in her imagination. Fifty years ago every child had a great imagination. There was no doubt that she or anyone else could have made up a character called “God”. 

When I entered that first church, I didnt plan to ask bout “God” but, something about this big closet demanded a either a request or a greeting. For those who knew “God” they might greet him. But I did not know Him so when I saw a box with a labeled “prayer requests” I wrote my request. I had just had the word request in my vocabulary list and knew its definition.

Though I was 10 years old , I felt as big and bold as an adult in a prayer closet . I wrote”Hi Mr. God who are you? Let me know you like my friend Susan” I folded it tightly in a square , slurped from the fountain beside the wooden box , left singing the chorus of a song my mother played “I really wanna know you” from “my sweet lord” by Beatles member George Harrison. This was my first encounter with church and this was my first entrance antiphon. 

Entrance antiphons start the mass with an expectancy. An expectancy that we will meet  God and he will meet us in  our minds and hearts.  As the leader anounces “the enterance antiphon”, folks rise, even since the beginning of Christianity, to say a text or verse of the psalm . It’s friends, brothers and sisters , in unison, greeting and asking of God. 

Even folks that are not catholic enter their prayer closets with such intention. They want to meet with God. It is the knock on the door of heaven when we say from our hearts “show me your ways oh God” . The enterance antiphon  has been the created way of the church since its inception. Not because of mans intent, does the antiphon enter our worship,  but because of  God’s intent in us. God creates us requesting of Him to show Himself  and Him desiring to fulfill our requests by showing Himself to us. 

It was for 48 more years that I entered the empty open churches with my own enterance antiphon. Most all my requests were desperate pleas and most all were childlike . And everyone of them , every enterance antiphon ,placed as a prayer request , was answered by the one I first called “Mr God.”

I write this now outside such a church . I write this outside the biggest prayer closet of all… the Catholic Church. I write this now as I watch the old woman and little girl sanitize their hands before going into a chapel, a closet that is always open.A closet that is always open when everywhere is closed.  I write this now knowing that forever little girls can ask “Mr God who are you?” and get an answer. 

Notes:

  1. Entrance antiphons were first solidified as part of the mass by Pope Celestine 1 432 . In early time,  lines from  the psalms of David were to be sung. Presently , mostly psalms are used but, other scriptures from the old testament and sometimes new, are used. It is usually a short sentence that reflects the core  message of the mass for the day. For me it sounds as if it is a souls summary of the Lords intentions for the day… but that is only my interpretation. I am after all a closet catholic. 
  2. https://youtu.be/8qJTJNfzvr8My Sweet Lord was a song by George Harrison that tried to incorporate Christianity into all religions. A postmodern song with the intent to bring peace among all religions with a sweet chorus ” I really want to know you” that God did indeed use for me. But Jesus would return with His antiphon… no , “I did not come to bring peace but a sword ” “I am the way the truth and the life, no man can come to the father but through me” Matthew 10:34,John 14:6

 

 

 

Live Stream

They said that I could not come and see you

They said I could imagine you were here with me

They said I should  dress as if you were coming to see me

They said  I should put chair and cross and water out for you

So I did , I dressed , I lit a candle , and in a bowl I poured water

And Suddenly, before  I could kneel, before I could think on you , before  I invited you to  come

you came. … as a voice of light on all that I thought about you

You came with a legion of light in places hiding from you

you said that you came to see me

you said that you are more than I can imagine

you said I can sit with you

You said to see your love on the cross

You said to drink of your water

you said “you are lovely”

you wrapped and warmed and wooed me in your arms of light.

4Th Sunday in Lent

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.””

‭‭John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬