A Homily for Palm Sunday: Sunday of the Passion
by The Reverend Craig Lemming, Associate Rector
Sunday, April 10, 2022
In the Name of Christ, Crucified and Risen, whose rituals heal us. Amen.
Today’s Homily is a brief invitation to enter into and to cross sacred thresholds. I invite you to come to church to participate in and to be fully immersed within the healing power of each of the Holy Week liturgies. Come and inhabit the sacred narratives of the Passion, Crucifixion, death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus in the Holy Scriptures; through the practice of ancient rituals entrusted to us by our faithful ancestors – the hymns, processions, chanting, foot-washing, consecrations of bread, wine, water, oil, and fire; but most of all, come wholeheartedly to intentionally be with one other. Being fully present to the healing power of God’s love together is the essence of our identity. When our bodies enter into the sacred rituals of these holiest of Holy Days ahead of us, all the bruises and crucifixions of our own tender, sacred lives become sacramentally healed by the Holy Spirit of Jesus who incarnates our deepest pain, our longings for liberation, and raises each of us to new life. Each of the rituals that we prayerfully embody together this Holy Week are sacred thresholds. Come and take each step lovingly together; shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye, heart to heart; usher one other across each sacred threshold with the Holy Spirit of Jesus, crucified and risen.
I leave you with the words of Irish mystic, priest, philosopher, poet, and theologian John O’Donohue, who describes why these thresholds of Holy Week are so important:
At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope. This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross.¹
1. John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (New York, NY; The Doubleday Broadway
Publishing Group, 2008), 48-49.