In Israel, a small percentage of the population is Christian.
It seemed all were in the streets on Palm Sunday,
a procession winding from the Mount of Olives
making a slow entry through the Gate of the city
following along the Via Dolorosa
pooling at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
I remember the singing.
Words to familiar tunes gathered up in many languages,
like an early Pentecost.
I remember the small children
running along the sides
selling palm branches.
“Five shekels! Five shekels!
I also remember what else was going on for me that Palm Sunday I walked with the crowd.
That morning I discovered nearly 1000 shekels were stolen from my room.
A lot of money for a volunteer.
A lot of money to leave in a sock drawer.
I lived in a convent, and though it was also a Guest House, it was a safe oasis in a volatile city.
We didn’t lock our doors when we were wandering the garden (tasting warm oranges from trees)
or around the kitchen (eating olives and cheese with fresh bread)
or on the roof, drying our clothes on racks in the sun.
And into this ordinary time …. a shattering loss,
an uncomfortable vapour of someone who’d been in my space,
wisps of guilt for not tending well that which was valuable.
And I took it to the Palm Sunday procession.
And I took it back home.
Later than evening Sister Donna came to my room at bedtime.
She came to read a Night Psalm into this space,
casting words like a soft shawl,
so I could lie down in peace.
These things I remember every Palm Sunday.
The loss, the crowd, and the Psalm.
And each year I take in my hand another palm branch
and shake it at the hurts collected and remembered.
Then lay it down, surrendering all to Love.
Love riding on.
Love riding on.
See also: Not Just Back Then.