Dear Friends in Christ,
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. I hope you can be here. We are going to take the first steps of Holy Week.
To start, of course, we are going to stand alongside the crowds in Jerusalem. We are going to sing some of your favorite hymns. We are going to wave greenery in the air! We are going to cast ourselves as extras, shouting jubilant greetings to Christ as he enters the holy city.
We are also going to take time to prepare our hearts for what lies ahead. Among other things, this means that we are going to talk about how to make space in our lives for quiet and contemplation during Holy Week.
Charlene Han Powell told me a few weeks ago about a member of our congregation who decided to give up apps for Lent. Yes, applications: the little programs on our smartphones that are supposed to make our lives easier; the little games that insidiously reach out with a ping, calling us back, promising that we don’t need to spend a second of our lives being bored.
This young woman reported that she found giving up these apps — so carefully designed to tap into our need to be needed — surprisingly hard. Can our brains really be that easily co-opted? Evidently yes. Are we being conned into finding meaning in things that we know are inherently meaningless? Yes again. What are we giving up when we fall into their crafty embrace? Good question!
To start on an answer, this week I have started making a tour of places in New York City that are known for being quiet. I have visited the Cloisters, the New York Public Library and a secluded spot away from tourists in Central Park. I have gone in search of solitude — in search of places in this city that might help me listen for something other than a ping.
I hope you will join us this Sunday as together we talk about how we care for souls that are desperate for time away from our daily clamor — time when we can listen for God. Oh, and if you have a favorite quiet place in the city that you would like to share, I’d be honored if you would post it here.
See you in worship,