Bp. Eric Menees’ reflection on the Collect for Palm Sunday

From the Soundings blog. Bishop Eric Menees is the diocesan bishop of the Anglican diocese of San Joaquin:


This weeks collect opens up Holy Week for us in a powerful way. Passion Sunday is full of just that – passion and suffering – in particular the suffering of Jesus. I remember as a young man in high school, our youth group would often put the passion narrative into a play setting in which we would dramatically read the parts…I know, nothing new… but I’ve got to say that as I read the part of the narrator, or the guards, or Jesus the words came alive for me. In preparation, the youth group would spend time studying the passion narrative in the gospels, and on more than one occasion I found myself weeping. That seems to me an appropriate response when we not only think about Jesus’ suffering, but also about whom he suffered for – namely me and you!

Almighty and everliving God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

As we enter into Holy Week, this Collect asks God, who sent His son to suffer for us, to help us become more like him, and that He will give us patience to stay the course with Jesus as we are invited into the Living Word.

Thanks be to God for our liturgies over Holy Week. If we will allow ourselves to be, we are invited to be with Jesus as he enters into Jerusalem and shout “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of The Lord.” We are invited to be with Jesus at the Last Supper and hear those words as if spoken for the first time: “Take, eat, this is my body given for you!” We are invited to have Jesus wash our feet and be reminded that the greatest among us are servants. We are invited to wait with Jesus through the night as he prays. We are invited to sit at the foot of the cross and hear those amazing words “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” And finally, we are invited to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

To be truly present in these liturgies; to meditate upon the sacrificial love of God for us; to know that our sins – not only the sins of those in the past, but mine and yours as well – are what nailed Jesus to the Cross where he bore the wrath of God for us…well, to do all that we desperately need God’s help. So we pray: “Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection…” And to that I say…AMEN

I pray you all a very blessed Holy Week!


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