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March 19, 2016, 11:58 AM

A Service of Scripture and Poetry


The First Day of the Week-Sunday
A Reading from Scripture                           Luke 19:36-40         
As [Jesus] rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As [Jesus] was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
 
Blessing for Palm Sunday   by Jan Richardson
Blessed is the one
who comes to us
by the way of love
poured out with abandon.
 
Blessed is the one
who walks toward us
by the way of grace
that holds us fast.
 
Blessed is the one
who calls us to follow
in the way of blessing,
in the path of joy.
 
The Second Day of the Week-Monday
A Reading from Scripture                           Luke 19:45-46
Then Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there: and Jesus said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”
 
It Was On the Monday…    
            It was on the Monday                                                                                 
            that religion got in the way.
 
            An outsider would have thought
            that it was a pet shop’s clearance sale.
            And the outsider, in some ways,
            wouldn’t have been far wrong.
 
            Only it wasn’t household pets,
            it was pigeons that were being purchased.
            And it wasn’t a clearance sale;
            it was a rip-off stall in a holy temple
            bartering birds for sacrifice.
            And the price was something only the rich could afford.
            No discounts to students, pensioners,
            or social security claimants.
 
            Then he,
            the holiest one on earth,
            went through the bizarre bazaar
            like a bull in a china shop.
            So the doves got liberated
            and the pigeon sellers got angry.
            And the police went crazy
            and the poor people clapped like mad,
            because he was making a sign
            that God was for everybody,
            not just for those who could afford God.
            He turned the tables on Monday…
            The day that religion got in the way.
 
The Third Day of the Week-Tuesday
A Reading of Scripture                    Luke 20:1-2
One day, as Jesus was teaching the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to Jesus, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?”
 
It Was On the Tuesday…   
            It was on the Tuesday                                                                                            
            that he let them have it.
 
            If you had been there
            you would have thought
            that a union official was being taken to task
            by a group of mobsters.
            Or that the chairperson of a multinational corporation
            was being interrogated by left-wing activists
            posing as shareholders.
 
            They wanted to know why
            and they wanted to know how.
 
            They were the respectable men,
            the influential men,
            the establishment.
 
            The questions they asked
            ranged from silly schoolgirl speculations
            about whether you would be a bigamist in heaven
            if you married twice on earth,
            to what was the central rule of civilized behavior.
 
            They knew the answers already…
            or so they thought,
            otherwise they would never have asked the questions.
 
            And like most of us
            they were looking for an argument
            with no intentions of a change of heart.
 
            So he flailed them with his tongue…
            those who tried to look interested
            but never wanted to be committed.
 
            And that was on the Tuesday…
            the day he let them…let us…have it.
 
The Fourth Day of the Week—Wednesday
A Reading of Scripture                    Matthew 26:6-7
Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.
 
It Was On the Wednesday…
            It was on the Wednesday                                                               
            that they called him a wasteful person.
 
            The place smelled like the perfume department
            of a big store.
 
            It was as if somebody had bumped an elbow against a bottle
            and sent it crashing to the floor,
            setting off the most expensive stink bomb on earth.
 
            But it happened in a house,
            not a shop.
 
            And the woman who broke the bottle
            was no casual afternoon shopper.
            She was the poorest of the poor,
            giving away the only precious thing she had.
 
            And he sat still
            while she poured the liquid all over his head…
            as unnecessary as aftershave
            on a full crop of hair and a bearded chin.
 
            And those who smelled it,
            and those who saw it,
            and those who remembered
            that he was against extravagance,
            called him a wasteful person.
            They forgot
            that he also was the poorest of the poor.
 
            And they who had much
            and who had given him nothing,
            objected to a pauper giving him everything.
 
            Jealousy was in the air
            when a poor woman’s generosity
            became an embarrassment to their tight-fistedness…
 
            That was on the Wednesday,
            when they called him a wasteful person.
 
The Fifth Day of the Week—Thursday
A Reading from Scripture               Matthew 26:47-50  
While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.  Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once Judas came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.  Jesus said to Judas, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”  Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
 
It Was On the Thursday…
            It was on the Thursday                                                                  
            that he became valuable.
 
            He hadn’t anything to sell…
            not since leaving his hammer and saw three years earlier.
            Needless to say,
            he could build a set of trestles
            or hang a couple of shelves at the drop of a hat,
            no bother at all.
 
            But he wasn’t into making things.
            Not now.
 
            He was into…well…talking, I suppose.
            And listening
            and healing
            and forgiving
            and encouraging…
            all the things for which there’s no pay
            and the job center has no advertisements.
 
            So his work wasn’t worth much.
            Nor, indeed, was he.
            For, not being well dressed
            or well financed or well connected,
            he wouldn’t have attracted many ticket holders
            had he been put up for raffle.
            But he had a novelty value…
            like a side show attraction.
            Put him on a stage and he might be interesting to look at.
            Sell him to the circus
            with the promise of some tricks
            and there could be some money in it.
 
            It was on the Thursday
            that he became valuable.
 
The Sixth Day of the Week—Friday
A Reading of Scripture                                Luke 23:33-34
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing.
 
It Was on the Friday…
            It was on the Friday                                                                       
            that they ended it all.
 
            Of course,
            they didn’t do it one by one.
            They weren’t brave enough.
            All the stones at the one time
            or no stones at all.
 
            They did it in crowds…
            in crowds where you can feel safe
            and lose yourself
            and shout things
            you would never shout on your own,
            and do things
            you would never do
            if you felt the camera was watching you.
 
            It was a crowd in the church that did it,
            and a crowd in the civil service that did it,
            and a crowd in the street that did it,
            and a crowd on the hill that did it.
            And he said nothing.
 
            H took the insults,
            the bruises,
            the spit on the face,
            the thongs on the back,
            the curses in the ears.
            He took the sight of his friends turning away,
            running away.
 
            And he said nothing.
 
            He let them do their worst
            until their worst was done,
            as on Friday they ended it all…
            and would have finished themselves
            had he not cried,
            “Father, forgive them…”
 
            And began the revolution.  
 
The Seventh Day of the Week--Saturday
Mary Magdalene and the Other Mary; A Song for All Maries   (by Christina Rossetti)
            Our Master lies asleep and is at rest
            His Heart has ceased to bleed, His Eyes to weep;
            The sun ashamed has dropt down in the west:
            Our Master lies asleep.
            Now we are they who weep, and trembling keep
            Vigil, with wrung heart in a sighing breast,
            While slow creeps, and slow the shadows creep.
 
            Renew Thy youth, as eagle from the nest;
            O Master, who hast sown, arise to reap: -
            No cock-crow yet, no flush on eastern crest:
            Our Master lies asleep.
 
“It was on the…” Poetry from the Iona Community, Stages on the Way; Gia Publishing.
Painting is from The Benedictine Nuns of Turvey Abbey, available for purchase through mccrimmons.com.

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