No Palms?

“Luke! You forgot the palms!”

That’s not the shout of “preacher in a panic,” that.
Nor is it Jesus’ commentary on a new disciple who,
all eager, failed to strip the palm tree
of its fronds to deck the road for his approach.

I might imagine, though, the sad and smiling faces
of the other gospel writers who, whatever else
they may have written right or wrong, included palms
upon the road up to the city’s gate.

At least there’s clothes and cloaks to lay beneath the feet
of this strange-sought, strange-borrowed colt,
who probably could do without the noise
and would prefer the eat the absent fronds.

No, Luke, the colt does not awaken my concern,
nor do I worry that its burden misses leaf and branch.
Instead, imagination balks to think
of waving clothes, not palms, upon this Sunday morn.

Oh, yes. Imagination balks.

We’ll wave our palms, dear Luke, not clothes.
But really: how could you forget the palms?

A poem/prayer based on Luke 19:28-40 the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Sixth Sunday in Lent. In Luke’s account of Palm Sunday, he does not mention any palms.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday Stones

IMG_2064Let the stones cry out, O Lord, for we are stunned to silence.
Let the cobbles of uneven paving end their reticence,
Break their stillness (does the shout of rock sound like a cracking?),
Raise their voices. Let the stones cry: “Save us! Lord, Hosannah!
Blessed are You who come to bring salvation of our God!”
Crackling praise. If loud enough, perhaps it might drown out
The heaving of our weeping.

We weep for children poisoned by the falling bombs in Syria.
We weep for warriors slain when missiles came to them with death.
We pray for people walking, standing, falling as the truck rolled on.
We pray for people worshiping, and waving palms, recalling You
And how devotion shattered in concussed reverberation.
Let the stones cry out, because your people’s voices
Have been called to weeping.

“Hosannah!” “Save us!” Cry it, stones, as Jesus makes his storied climb
Beneath the venerated gates, with steady step of his swift-borrowed steed,
The one he chose to honor Zechariah, “Humble, riding on a donkey,”
Yet still a declaration of his majesty. Cry it, stones, though your voice be muffled
By the palm leaves strewn upon your surfaces, by the cloth
That’s laid across your seams. Cry it, stones: “Hosannah! Save us!”
Because our voices have been lost to weeping.

Upon your humble mount, O Jesus, what comes to your ears?
The ears of One divine and human? Do you hear our sobs
Across the centuries, though muddled in the mix of cries,
“Hosannah! Save us! Bless us with salvation from our God!”
Their cry, the cry of stones, the cry of desperate humanity,
Is ours. Save us, Lord, from all the evil we would do:
Because our voices have been lost to weeping.