There’s still a place for palms in virtual worship
March 5, 2021
I recently learned a new word that I thought was appropriate for the year we have all just navigated together:
a state of chaos; utter confusion.
If ever a year was appropriate to be deemed tohubohu, it was 2020. It is hard to believe after all that has happened that it could even possibly be time to turn our attention toward planning for Palm Sunday. But even in such a state, with so many things looking different, including how we worship together, life continues.
In 2020, the harvesting community expressed deep gratitude for the 1,030 Presbyterian congregations that chose to keep their orders in place despite the tohubohu. And for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, it was so inspiring to see that from utter chaos came an abundance of creativity.
South-Broadland Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Missouri, was able to deliver palms to members in time for use in an online processional.
Grove Presbyterian Church in Danville, Pennsylvania, used their palms for decorating the outside of the building, erecting a 14-foot cross with palms strewn on the ground in front of it.
Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis used their palms for the greater community, filling large pots outside of their building that were in turn mostly empty by day’s end.
As everyone came together in these new ways to protect the health of our communities, we also protected forests, local jobs and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities. Community members in the Maya Biosphere Reserve sort, package and sell the palms themselves — not via middlemen — so more of the money paid for the palms stays with the people who worked the hardest to provide them. Through the Eco-Palms project, 25% of the cost of each frond is going directly back to the communities that harvest them.
The Presbyterian Hunger Program believes in the empowering work of Eco-Palms, perhaps now more than ever. Even though many of us aren’t gathering in a traditional sense, there is still a place for them in your virtual worship, so we hope that you will consider ordering in 2021. Even if you place a smaller order than usual for this Palm Sunday, your orders are still having a big impact. Learn more about the Eco-Palm project here.
Working together, we do make a difference!
Jessica Maudlin Phelps, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program
Morning Psalms 22; 148
First Reading Jeremiah 5:1-9
Second Reading Romans 2:25-3:18
Gospel Reading John 5:30-47
Evening Psalms 105; 130
Today’s Focus: Eco-Palm Project
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Marla Edwards, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation
Vanessa Elkin, Presbyterian Foundation
Let us pray:
Gracious God, we thank you that you are God of the calmed seas and God of the tohubohu. We thank you that even in trying times we have the capacity to make choices that honor all of your Creation and faithfully serve and preserve our Earthly home.