Sheltering in Place Through a Palm Sunday Like No Other

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By Sister Michele Aronica

This image drew itself. It’s not “composition” as much as expression. The haunting name that keeps coming to me is “worldwide crucifixion” (in addition to our own personal Lenten journey).

As with everyone else, we had no palms, since everything here is shelter-in-place. I live in the “Pine-tree state” of Maine. In conversation with a friend, it seemed fitting to use pine tree branches to welcome Holy Week. (I have used pine branches before during Advent. Over time, water them and the ends will grow roots. That certainly is a sign of hope.)

The image, this depiction of “worldwide crucifixion,” is not only the virus but rather a manifestation of some basic fundamentals as a human community we have not gotten right—the greed, the deep division of inequality and poverty, the lust for power/domination, the illusion of control, the numbness of conscience to our oneness as a human community, the whirlwind of busyness and the misuse of technology that ends in disconnection and isolation.

In other words, it’s the disregard for the basics we learned in kindergarten. Remember that book, written by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? After this pandemic has subsided, my hope is that it leaves us as a human community with a deep, deep thirst for grounding, a fundamental re-recognition of the action to make real what is truly essence to renew ourselves (myself).

As a human community, we are at a threshold moment, a profound opportunity for a new beginning, not only in my heart but in all of our hearts, as part of our common humanity in community.

This past Palm Sunday was like none I’d ever celebrated. I will always remember it as “Pine Branch Sunday.” May we never have another like it.