Next Post-General Conference Episcopal Visit: Tuesday, April 16, 6:30-9:00 p.m., FUMC San Leandro.

Holy Monday 2019 Meditation

4/15/2019

Monday of Holy Week 2019


Read Isaiah 42:1-9
But here is my servant, the one I uphold;
My chosen, who brings me delight.
I’ve put my spirit upon him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
(Isaiah 42:1)
 
Friends,

Blessed Holy Week to each and every single one of you!

Yesterday I was at one of our churches in the Central Valley District. I participated in a wonderfully meaningful Palm Sunday worship service. Everything had been prepared for the welcoming of Jesus as he rides on a colt into Jerusalem, and as we begin to consider anew what it means that Jesus lived this week in anticipation of his execution on a cross because the love he proclaimed challenged the law and order of both the religious community and the Roman Empire.

The pews were beautifully decorated with fresh palm fronds tied to the upper part of each pew with twine. I sat at the end of a pew, welcomed there by a kind woman who treated me like an old friend. I felt as if I were back in my childhood church where I first came to know what Holy Week means, safe in the glow of holy space.

From that back pew I began to look across the sanctuary to see who else was there. The passing of the peace gave me the opportunity to experience the warmth of the congregation.

Then it happened. A movement of the Holy Spirit that set my course for this week.
 
As I sat back in my pew and looked up again, I realized that I was seeing through the palm fronds. Spread out like lovely green fans they allowed me to see some, but not all. As I listened to our pastor’s sermon and he spoke of God’s faithfulness, the meaning of Palm Sunday, and what was yet to come during this week, I also had the thought that there had been those on that first Holy Week who waved their palm fronds and shouted Hosannas to the highest heavens, but who never ventured forth from behind those palm fronds, or beyond their passing Hosannas.

As we travel with Jesus this week, I am challenging myself to set the palm fronds in their rightful place. They are a historic and living symbol of our welcoming Jesus to the center of our life, both religious and societal, for we believe that he is the Son of God who heals our brokenness and restores us to life. Jesus is the One who, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, brings justice to the nations. But the welcome must become an active following of Jesus. My experience with the palm fronds yesterday was a powerful reminder of the fact that I still do not see as clearly as I would like or should. And if I do not see clearly, then how do I follow Jesus faithfully?

Some days I find myself looking through the palm fronds of my ignorance, things I just do not know or understand. Other days the palm fronds before my eyes bear the blindness of my biases and prejudices. Yet other days convict me of the way my sins force blind spots to appear before me, like the wave of a palm frond, that cause me to act in ways that are wrong and that hurt others and undermine my own wholeness.

I want to come out from behind the palm fronds to see our Lord, Christ Jesus, and follow him faithfully. I want my Hosannas unto Him to be true and experienced by those around me even more than heard. I’ll be wrestling with these thoughts and hopes this Holy Week.

How are you living this Holy Week? What are the thoughts that the Holy Spirit is placing upon your heart, mind, and spirit? Would you pray for me this week? I covenant to pray for you that together we may see Christ our Lord, truly see Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and follow him faithfully all the way to the cross.
 
Your Sister in Christ,


Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

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