JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Franciscan friars wearing surgical masks and gloves made house calls in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, delivering olive branches to Christians who are self-isolating as a precaution against the coronavirus.
One of the friars used a loud-hailer in the streets of the walled Old City to summon people to their front doors and windows, where they received branches and blessings.
The beginning of the Holy Week leading to Easter, Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem. Scripture speaks of his supporters scattering palm fronds in his path, an act often replicated today with branches of other native trees.
Jerusalem's churches, like Muslim, Christians and Jewish places of worship, are closed to the public. That has prompted the faithful to find alternatives to group prayer in a month in which the festivals of Passover, Easter and Ramadan will be marked in close succession.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The take-away: The journey we are going through may be long and hard, but we will find rest in God’s loving arms.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” The take-away: With God’s love behind us, there is no need to be frightened in the face of stress or fear.
“Anxiety wears down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up.” The take-away: By reading God’s word and praying to God, we can lighten the stress weighing down our hearts and minds.
2 THESSALONIANS 3:16
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” The take-away: We are never without the Lord or the Holy Spirit, who brings us peace each and every day. Even at our most difficult of times, God is watching over us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” The take-away: Only God can provide us true peace of mind, so it’s important for us to put all of our faith in God and trust in God at all times.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me.” The take-away: Even in the darkest of times, God will lead us to comfort and the light, with God’s grace and guidance.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. The take-away: The Bible tells us again and again that God will strengthen us, guide us, and help us with God’s love and Grace.
As we have said before, we are not worshipping in the building, but we are the church in the world. Our God does not want destruction from this virus and he grieves with us. God is with us always. Rest in God’s presence and God’s love.
Thank you and Blessings! You are doing a great job.
Sunday March 29th Read
READ EZEKIEL 37:1 *Psalm 130
Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. Ezekiel 37:5
Friday March 27
Read John 9:1-25 & Psalm 103:15-22
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.