Reflections for

Palm Sunday, Apr 09, 2017

Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Matthew 21:1-11

 

Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54

Poetry

Blood

               When we think of the blood of Christ,
                we think of the unnumbered insults;
                       the five wounds; the blood
                  beading from the thorn incisors
                          encircling his head

                        But what if, instead,
               we thought of the blue and red
              twining vessels of the umbilicus,
     what if we pictured the roseate and warm
          web of nutrients we call placenta?

                        Why not envision the body of Mary
               her autonomic brain as it was building,
                  creating a network of feeding and growing:
     caring and corpuscle, healing and hemoglobin,
 making a mammal’s four-chambered heart,
             fed by the rich cake we call placenta,
      shaping salvation’s vascular system?

                    Christ’s heart took shape in Mary’s body.
His blood first coursed her valves and veins.
      It was made with her womb’s weaving,
              overcast by heaven’s venture,
            manifest through serving love,
                      cell by alizarin cell.

On Art

John After Delacroix

In the foreground of Eugène Delacroix’s classic The Entombment of Christ is a poignant image of the disciple John sitting, bent forward, contemplating the crown of thorns. By painting John and the crown alone, Ebenezer Sunder Singh shines a spotlight on this pregnant moment, offering a chance to ponder the wisdom of God which seems like folly to human beings. “The image of the thorn crown is a recurring phenomenon in my works over many years,” says the artist. “I use it as a compulsive pictorial symbol, and at the same time I revere it as the symbol of pain, shame and hope. I think John in Delacroix’s painting knows this secret, so he is contemplating this symbol of recreation and regeneration.” Singh’s work is shown frequently in galleries in the U.S. and India.

—Lois Huey-Heck

Poetry

Man is without excuse

   —Romans 1:20

Perhaps you could say that in Rome, Paul,
where the olive trees of the Seven Hills

strung their pearls of rain against the sky.
And yes, as I hike Glacier Park

with a well-stocked pack, I can welcome
God's ambassadors of fireweed and paintbrush,

the psalmic rhythm of lake hitting shore.
But as the refugee trudges

from Mogadishu to Dabaab, is she to catch
a glimpse of antelope bone in the thicket

and intuit the sufferings of the Son of Man?
She wears her own nails and crown.

An Eden of lizards surges at her heels,
but she wonders at nothing

but the sore-studded daughter she left to die
on the road, and now, the baby

strapped to her back: six pounds
at one year old. He no longer cries

but flutters small breaths on her neck
like the golden wings of moths

she counts with worshipful attention.

 

Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.