Palm Sunday

I once expressed my difficulty with the Episcopal Palm Sunday service. We have the profession of Palms and all its fun and celebration and then we spoil it all by reading the Passion and Jesus’s trial, condemnation, and crucifixion. In the end its a real downer.

My good friend said that’s exactly the point.
Jubilation is overtaken by suffering. A triumphal procession turns into a funeral parade.
Easter is about the victory of Christ’s resurrection as being one of weakness over strength, of love over scarcity and self-preservation.
But today we begin Holy Week, and the chance to experience our faith laid bare, with nothing to distract us from the love of God.

Saturday In the Fifth Week of Lent

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. If there was ever a fourth quarter in Lent this is it. Football games are won and lost in the fourth quarter. In Lent, no one is keeping score and the only loss is opportunity, but still if there was ever a week to fast, pray, meditate, study, and serve this is it.

Holy Week is celebrated like no other religious holiday. We commemorate the very basics of the Christian faith. A faith based on humility — where we don’t celebrate accomplishments and strengths, instead we acknowledge and lay bare our failures and weaknesses.
If I may suggest, spend some time before Holy Week begins in full in a conversation with God whatever your faith. In that conversation, allow yourself to be vulnerable much like Christ allowed himself to vulnerable. If you do, I expect you will experience a love that surpasses all understanding.

Friday In the Fifth Week of Lent

I have been speaking a lot lately — rotary clubs, book clubs, colleges, etc., but it was what I heard recently at one of those events that stuck with me. For a change I listened as well as talked.

The man introducing me reminded everyone that in order to have the most fulfilling, meaningful relationships in our everyday lives, whether it be with our coworkers, family, friends, or our community, we need to try to always be honest, be sincere, and be present.

There is a lot of meat in the words — “be honest, be sincere, and be present.”

To often we are drawn to begin a relationship by holding something back about ourselves, fearful that the relationship won’t continue if we are completely honest, thus beginning with a half-truth that grows to be a whopper over time. Bad idea.

Sincerity is a habit we should all work on in every relationship we have. Ask yourself how you react to sincerity, and work to provide that same emotion you feel to all who enter your life.

Being present is ninety percent of a relationship. Work to spend a lot more time being present for all, but especially for family and friends.

There is much more to be said and meditated upon, but begin by quietly saying to yourself, “be honest, be sincere, and be present.”

Thursday In the Fifth Week of Lent

Not until I was Mayor of Little Rock and I received a call at three in the morning about a dead dog under a citizen’s house, did I fully understand the words said in Compline — “our common life depends on each other’s toil.” At three in the morning, I was more than appreciative to the employees of Little Rock’s sanitation department.

Often during the Lenten season of self-examination we forget to appreciate our neighbors. We fail to see the faces of the grocery clerks, sanitation workers, truck drivers, etc. — expecting friendly behavior on their part, but not examining our own behavior towards them.
Take a few moments during Lent to honor the work of all who make up your community, and to say thank you to God for what each and everyone of them do.