Turning toward Holy Week — From the Psalms to the Cloud

On Mondays I have been sharing a few prayers from our new book “From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting to the Digital Era” (Mankin and Tirabassi, Pilgrim Press).This reflection is from the book

Lindsay Popper says, “As a poet, my writing practice centers around having a notebook with me wherever I go, so that I can jot down lines, ideas, images, and questions as they come to me. I gather such bits over a period of time, and then craft them into poems hours or months later, when I’m at my computer. I used the same approach with these prayers, which I worked on during Lent while I was disconnected from Facebook and praying the Daily Offices from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. I was steeped in the language and tradition of collects, and I carried that sense with me as I walked through the world, staying sensitive to the situations or people I felt led to pray for.”

This is one of her prayers:

We could say that prisons are full of murderers, rapists, liars, and thieves. We could say that they are full of guards and wardens and officers. Really though, prisons are full of human beings. God, help us to look in prisons and see Jesus, who became fully human to show us how to be fully human. Help those on both sides of the cell doors remember their humanity and the humanity of those around them. Soften hearts, Lord. Bring healing. Compel those of us on the outside to extend your love to our incarcerated brothers and sisters; shield prison workers from becoming calloused; enable offenders to grow and change; and help everyone to see all people as people, dearly loved by you, the God who made every one of us in your image.
– Lindsay Popper

Entering into Holy Week, from the ebullience of palms waving to the somber reflection on the depth of Christ’s sacrifice, it’s possible to find ourselves hung up on our own jagged, human edges. What have we learned during Lent? What have we sacrificed, not just for ourselves, but for our brothers and sisters in the global community? Have we offered up prayers on their behalf, or only our own? Have we considered that our struggles, and the struggles of strangers, are equal in the eyes of God? Have we mourned for those we’ve lost during our journey? This week, in suspension between Lent’s holiness and the celebration of Easter, we have time to consider both the joy and the pain that we suffer, even made, as we are, in the image of God.

Brief liturgy for a Holy Week service – take a breath, a moment of rest, and time for prayer. Maybe a prayer of only a sentence or two:

God, someone’s tipped-over-table entrepreneurial coin is rolling across the floor. This church could really use it. Yet we are a house of prayer. It’s so shiny…but we have to let it go. Amen.

Sometime a gift just smells extravagantly – baking bread, fresh laundry, funeral flowers, washed dog, nard from a broken alabaster jar. God, accept all our senses and whatever it is that reminds us of the scent of love. Help us always spend it. Amen.

Wednesday — Confession
God, we have cheated ourselves and you by puckering up for success and selfishness, for the secret words and deeds that hurt those dearest to us. Amen.

Our forgiveness may not be enough to keep us from nodding off when love is confusing, but this grace we have – when someone pushes a bag of betrayal at us – we can say, “kiss off.”

Thursday, again
We are a people of bunions because we do try to walk in the shoes of others. Our feet are not always pretty. Touch, us, Christ, and teach us the podiatry of love. Amen.


Bless us with the old wisdom of olive trees,
the fresh taste of tears,
courage that looks at crowns and thorns,
and compassion that goes shopping for Sunday spice
to anoint those hurt by new crosses.

– Maren Tirabassi

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6 Responses to Turning toward Holy Week — From the Psalms to the Cloud

  1. Ken Hoyt says:

    Hi There,

    Preaching on Palm Sunday. Any ideas for a fresh approach in liturgy. I am doing the palms liturgy and lead up to the passion and end in a quiet somber note.


    • Maren says:

      I’m not sure I would do much more — that sounds like a lot for one service without adding to it. Perhaps the use of tangible objects for those for whom that would be a lot of words …. palms are there, bag of coins to jingle, smooth alabaster jar, a towel for footwashing and an olive branch. Pass them in a small church or have four prayer stations where people choose to come to one to pray. Another idea would be Or simply do the service with all the chairs tipped on their sides in the chancel … a visual impact that we too have not always been a house of prayers. Just some thoughts …

  2. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    My reflection today was paired symbols of Holy Week (cries, whips, basins, crowns, gardens etc). Your Holy Week Liturgy fitted perfectly, thank you.

    • Maren says:

      That sounds wonderful …sounds like something you might send me to share with others next year, Rosalie.

      • Rosalie Sugrue says:

        I did this exploration without notes, in a ‘café church’ setting having people bring forward pictures (I’d created from old Sunday School supplies) but I will put something together for you that may be useful for others.

  3. Maren says:

    Thanks so much!

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