Painting by Cara Heafey

A Reflection for Palm Sunday – 5th April 2020

“I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Revd Cara Heafey, Associate Minister, Summertown URC

“I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Read: Luke 19:28-40

2Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

32Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

34They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Reflect:

The Palm Sunday story paints a picture of a noisy, jostling crowd… of people gathered with a shared purpose… of exuberance and excitement. It’s a story that, on the face of it, seems very much at odds with our current situation of social distancing and isolation.

Now the streets of our cities are empty. Our neighbourhoods and parks and public spaces are quiet. Our churches too. And we may feel at a loss about how to worship without our familiar patterns and buildings and the physical presence of other people.

I find myself drawn, though, to Jesus’ words in verse 40. When some Pharisees tell Jesus to shut his disciples up, he replies “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

It reminds me of the stories emerging of the ways in which nature is responding to the respite from people in this quiet time. I’ve heard that the water has cleared in the canals of Venice, that there are fish and swans using the water-highways, and the air is cleaner. In other parts of Italy under lockdown it’s reported that dolphins have been spotted swimming in the waterways, and wild boar trotting about the streets. In Wales, goats are venturing into town centres.

Perhaps our absence is giving the earth a space to sing.

Perhaps our silence will enable us to hear it.

Pray:

  • For healing for the earth
  • For those who are finding social- distancing tough For those who were isolated even before the virus outbreak – may our experience of this time make us more aware
  • For those putting themselves and their families at risk to provide healthcare and keep vital services running

Connect:

Try to find a way to connect with the natural world this week.

Open a window, or if you can, safely, get outdoors. Breath some clean air. Feel the sun on your face. Notice the signs of Spring emerging. Listen to birdsong, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

Consider this nature’s worship; the earth praising its creator. May the fellowship of trees, of birds, of sunlight, of air remind us that we are not alone.

Resources:

  • Download and Print this reflection here
  • Explore our library of sermons here

If you need any help, have a prayer request, or would like someone to talk to, please contact your elder or Revd. Pauline Main