Our Palm Sunday service went well yesterday, and it was a joy to sing our anthem: Hosanna and Hallelujah (Ovokaitys/Thomson/Raney)—suitably modified because "Hallelujah" is verboten during Lent. But I'm fighting sadness because the "ordinariness" of the service, and the anticipated blandness of worship for Holy Week and Easter to come, is such a contrast to the gloriousness of worship services we have had in the past. The fact that our pared-down services are saving us a lot of work and stress, while appreciated, does not quite make up for the loss of joy.
It was good therapy to run into this photo from Palm Sunday, 2020, when affixing a palm to our front door was the best we could do, because our church had done the unheard of: The doors were closed—services shut down for the holiest and most joyful week of the Church Year.
It was but the beginning of sorrows. And this was not even the work of the state, which had exempted religious services from stay-at-home orders, but of our own Episcopal hierarchy. It was a sad and shameful time.
Our worship services may seem depressingly mundane to me these days, but they exist, and the choirs are singing, and we sit next to our neighbors once again—and even occasionally hug them. That's a lot to be thankful for: a loud hosanna!, and an even louder hallelujah! in six more days.