With Palm Sunday, we enter into the Passion week, a Holy Week, remembering the Lord’s final days and building in anticipation toward the Resurrection.
For the world, this is much like any other week, and paradoxically, for ministers and others working in Christian contexts, it can be a week with little time for prayer and reflection.
To counter-act what feels like a break-neck race to Easter, I long to pause and rest in ‘unforced rhythms of grace’; to walk with Jesus through these days and let his Spirit transform my DNA; to practice a new way of thinking by remembering my small story in the midst The Story; to be patient on the hard days before the Glory, even as I learn to be patient in the whole of an often Holy Saturday life.
We live in death. We see it all around.
We live in-between. We are residents of the Now but Not yet of the coming Kingdom. We live in that moment of baptism, under the water, the moment between death and resurrection.
Yet we also live resurrected in promise and hope, taking in that wonderful first gasp of earthly air as we rise from the baptismal water. One day we will take in that full sweet heavenly breath as we rise with Jesus.
I’m a rushing wind through life right now, a whirlwind of activity blowing through, a Tasmanian Devil of the old cartoons, and I’m not remembering to breathe earth’s air, and even less of heaven.
Last night at 3am, I woke to blessed silence and lit a candle and made some tea and journalled the Spirit’s prayer in me: Your life is wonderful–two awesome jobs and a wonderful community–but it is not sustainable. Pray and reflect, but use your night hours to sleep and learn to pause during the day.
Let Me be the wind and you breathe Me.
I’ve read enough books on prayer and gotten myself into this kind of pickle too many times to know that pausing in the midst of being a one-woman tornado of activity is easier said than done.
But I also know that our rich prayer tradition offers centuries of helps for just such a situation.
One way to pause, to mark the days and hours of Holy Week, or any week, is to join with the wider Church in the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours. For centuries, the Office was the prayer of Benedictine monks and sisters, but then the Office moved into the lives of laypeople.
This week I will take a couple moments to pause and pray the Hours. Would you join me?
Here is a simple Liturgy of the Hours for Morning, Noon, and Compline prayer, starting with Palm Sunday evening. It offers a pattern based on the full Liturgy of the Hours, some simple chants, and scripture passages from The Message translation of the Bible.
I invite you to mark this week with me as different from the world’s calendar, to enter into the Now, but Not Yet, to pause and rest, and breathe in the wind of the Spirit as we are caught up in our Savior’s story.
If you want to print the PDF, select the file and choose booklet settings on your printer. It should print two pages horizontally on 8.5 x 11 paper in the proper order so you can fold and staple it. Or enjoy it as a digital prayer book on your phone or tablet.