Is that a palm on your letterbox?

Reflections

“This Palm Sunday, many households are planning to put some extra greenery on their door, in their front window or on their letterboxes, expressing an at-home solidarity with the community they are a part of,” says The Rev’d Andrew Schmidt

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This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, not that you will be able to tell from the normal signs. We normally have a parade around the church, wave palm branches, and distribute small crosses made from palm fronds.

This year will be different, as we necessarily change the way we worship throughout Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday, to help keep our fellow community members healthy and safe.

This Palm Sunday, many households are planning to put some extra greenery on their door, in their front window or on their letterboxes, expressing an at-home solidarity with the community they are a part of. If you join in and do this, please ‘comment’ with your pic uploaded onto this post on the ACSQ Facebook page or onto this post on Bishop Jeremy Greaves’ Facebook page.

I feel at this time that we are experiencing a special solidarity in our physical separation. This reminds me of a number of traditions and historical periods within the Church, and I suspect in other faiths.

There are stories of the desert fathers and mothers who used to live in separate little caves and huts in the deserts of Egypt, Syria and Palestine, sometimes separated by more than a kilometre. And, yet, they understood themselves as absolutely connected to the community of prayer and worship they were a part of.

There is also a tradition that many Christians adhere to, of praying together apart, in which the prayers we say are part of a continual cycle of prayer, such as through the ‘Divine Office’, essentially circling the world at every morning and every evening.

So we may not be able to process this Sunday or gather in person to either worship or pray at this time, but it gives me comfort to know that people have, for a very long time, had a way of thinking about ‘being community in isolation’, about ‘being together apart’.

Editor’s note: Check out the Palm Sunday pics that Anglican community members submitted via Facebook or email, as they joined in this wonderful at-home solidarity initiative. 

Peter Branjerdporn and daughter Mali on Facebook on 5 April 2020: “We welcome the prince of peace.”

Bishop Jeremy Greaves on Facebook on 5 April 2020 re his montage of palm images: “Almost there.”

St Peter’s Wynnum via email: “The Rev’d Donna Petersen, Rector of St Peter’s, Wynnum, helping to keep the Easter story alive through symbol, worship, outreach and solidarity from home.”

Parish of Toowoomba West Parish Council member Sandra Gierke on Facebook on 5 April 2020: “Palm Sunday morning in Newtown, Toowoomba with Hollie Gierke in charge of the Palm Crosses, gifts and chalk art on the footpath. We celebrated our ‘Zoom’ church service in the front yard with The Rev’d Pauline Harley and our fellow congregation members ‘Zoomed in’, celebrating Jesus triumphant return to Jerusalem.”

The UK’s Barbara Hancock on Facebook on 5 April 2020: “Palms up in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, UK. HOSANNA!”

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