A meditation on an Art Quilt for Palm Sunday (Year B)“Palms to Passion” is an original art quilt, 12″ x 39″, designed and constructed by Pat
Mark 11: 1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Following the modest parade into Jerusalem, we’re puzzled by Jesus’ actions. He gives no victory speech; he performs no miracles. Instead, he goes into the temple and “when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”
He looked around at everything….
This Palm Sunday, with Jesus, we look around at everything as we consider the past weeks of our Lenten journey and move into Holy Week.
The meditation quilt for this day is titled, “Palms to Passion,” and shows cloaks and palms on the road laid upon the backdrop of the five weeks of Lent. Our journey is never direct or uninterrupted, so we see that the quilt’s edges are irregular and zig-zagging.
Starting with the Markan account of Jesus’ baptism on the first Sunday of Lent, we hear the echo of the voice from heaven: “You are my beloved…” The voice is represented by the thin strands of gold streaming down from the top.
Remember God’s words to Jesus – and to you – embracing you as Beloved… Feel God’s affirming words wash over you… This absolute divine Love, if we hear and accept it, can and will shape all of our days.
The cloaks of the people are spread on the dusty road. A person’s cloak was a prized possession – and this valuable possession is what people were moved to lay before Jesus as he made his way into the city.
What valuable part of yourself are you willing to offer, to make a way for Jesus into your life?
The people cried “Hosanna!”, meaning “Save us!” “Save, please!” In desperation, under the oppression of Roman rule in their daily lives, the people cried out.
Where do you cry out to God? What is the source of your desperation and need? How do you lay this need at the feet of Jesus?
Now, notice the large symbolic palm. It has twelve fronds, symbolizing the twelve disciples, and it symbolizes our own discipleship and inclusion in the body of Christ. Green pearls mark the stem of the palm, and reminds us that even a simple and common offering – the palm – is beautified and sanctified when offered in love.
What is the gift that you bring today? What is your simple and common offering from your life that will be sanctified when offered in love?
As Holy Week progresses, the fabric reflects the gathering darkness, and finally moves into the black of Good Friday: The crucifixion. Jesus’ suffering. Jesus’ death.
Jesus goes ahead of us into everything that the human experience can bring. He accompanies us. Think about those places in your own life where you are fearful. What are you afraid to face? How does the suffering and death of Jesus assure you that you are not alone in your human fear or suffering?
The two lines of black ribbon mark the two nights after Jesus’ death prior to his resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. Between those two lines are three black beads, reminding us of Peter’s three-time denial of Jesus. Even Jesus’ closest allies and friends abandoned and denied him
Ponder those times when you have turned your back on your values, or on your faith. When have the demands of faith commitment made you afraid of what would be asked of you? When have you denied God’s claim on your life? Each of us becomes Peter – again, and again…
Our Lenten journey ends here, in darkness, denial and death. We are left bereft, and – as yet – have no inkling of what hope may break through.
Stay with the darkness. Don’t run from it or deny it. It is only when we experience and live for a while in the darkness that we’ll really know God’s Light when it appears….