April 5: Palm and Passion Sunday 2020

Layperson Lecture #10

To quote Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.” So now it’s time for a Layperson Lecture! I’m Constance McEntee, seminary drop-out and the Idiot Before G0D.

The scripture selections for Palm and Passion Sunday, 5 April 2020, can be found at LectionaryPage.net. But, I’m not going to use the lectionary today. I couldn’t bring myself to as I was preparing this. It didn’t feel right.

COVID-19. More experienced and better trained preachers than I would likely be able to bend the stories of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Passion, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion and tie them to this pandemic. They might even be able to inspire hope as they do so. One of the things I learned in my short time at seminary was that sermons should always contain good news so they can inspire hope. There is certainly wisdom in that idea.

There are others who will do a better job at that.

Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made me feel how I imagined the disciples might have felt after Jesus was arrested after their Passover supper. It’s bad, but the worst is yet to come. But the stories of the Last Supper in the canonical Gospels only mention Jesus and The Twelve. Yet, we know that among all these disciples, it was Mary Magdalene who had the courage to approach the tomb on the day after the Sabbath. The others were in hiding, or in mourning. 

I realize that’s getting ahead of where we are currently in the liturgical year, but it’s an important detail. You see, Mary Magdalene is my matron saint. To me, she is the saint of hope in seemingly hopeless situations. And right now, things seem nearly hopeless. And yet, I still proceed with my life, adapting to the currently normal of shelter-in-place. Is that how Mary Magdalene might have felt after the crucifixion? That life without Jesus was to be the new normal? Even if that was the case, she showed faith by letting herself be known as beloved to and by Jesus.

And, I think that’s where I’m going with this Layperson Lecture: things might seem hopeless. But we can do our best to adapt to the situation, hoping that the pandemic will soon be over and that the necessary steps will be taken to minimize the loss of life.

So, take the time you need to mourn. Take care of yourselves. Take the necessary precautions to help prevent or at least slow the spread of COVID-19. And hold onto hope that this is not an endless situation and that the pandemic will come to an end.

Do these things with the blessings of the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love Overflowing. Amen, and go with G0D.