‘Imagine’ Palm Sunday

You are looking down on a rocky, barren landscape – the sun is bright and the day is hot – the ground shimmers with the heat – the camera begins to move over the terrain, rising and falling – the walls of a city appear ahead – clinging to the landscape – behind the walls, in the centre, rising and imposing itself on all around and below is the Temple.

The streets are busy – people moving and going about their business – all are there – the sellers, the buyers, the busy, the lazy, the impatient, the lame, parents, children, elderly … the religious leaders … the Roman guards. The camera turns and lifting over the heads of the people moves to the eastern wall – a large crowd is moving towards the city gate – dust rises from their feet and swirls with the light breeze above their heads – the camera enters the crowd – smiling faces, young and old move and turn as one leading, following a figure riding on the back of a young donkey – the rider looks slightly awkward – legs dangling, held out in front and to the sides to avoid them trailing on the ground – the crowd looks as they will prevent progress but it keeps giving way and rolling to the sides as the beast and its passenger plod steadily forward.

A shout from the wall – heads turn – the call is taken up and more people inside the walls now begin to turn and move towards the gate.

Some are excited – shout back, smile and then leave their bartering to run towards the focus of the attention – mothers turn to call their children to them – grabbing hands they move as swiftly as they can through the crowd towards the gate. Others call after their children as they run on ahead, weaving in and out of others – a cry of concern as they lose sight of them – the momentum of the crowd picks up gathering more and more from their daily business – from the stalls, the alleys, the doorways – the noise increases – Life is interrupted.

Stalls are left empty – their produce no longer interesting enough to entice attention. The owners call out to those rushing by to attract them … but in vain – they move as one towards the gate. The streets empty as a mass of humanity pours and boils like a rolling liquid as the narrow streets funnel their flow towards the gate – anger and frustration as potential sales are lost – baskets of bread and fruit tumble to the floor as the crowd moves by – Life is interrupted.

A woman on a balcony looks with curiosity on the events below her – she calls – what is going on? What has happened? A friend turns and shouting tries to explain but her voice is unheard but her waving determines the woman’s response – she turns leaving the balcony and runs down the stairs to join the crowd – Life is interrupted.

Several Religious Leaders admonishing a woman for some unknown misdemeanour are jostled by the crowd rushing and pushing past them, disturbing their expensive robes – they call for order – their voices are unheard – unused to the lack of respect and recognition of their position they grab the arm of a young man to call him to account – they scowl – he smiles as he gently pulls himself free and is lost once more in the sea of people. Confused, annoyed, disturbed they observe – unable to influence events. Life is interrupted.

Two Roman Guards become nervous as the crowd rushes past them – crowds usually mean trouble, violence and the unexpected. They call for order – their instructions are unheard and ignored. One man is roughly cuffed around the head for his defiance – he stumbles to the floor but is picked up by those rushing by and swiftly is lost to them. Aware of their inability to instil any order as the crowd cheer and pull branches from the trees and wave them in the air, they flatten themselves against the wall – looking for support and nervous of what might happen next.                            Life is interrupted.

The camera moves in on the crowd and you recognise a figure – they turn – it is you. You smile but then in response to a sudden surge of people behind you, you are pushed forward and suddenly find yourself in the open. You turn …. In doing so you find yourself facing the man on the donkey – the noise continues around you but you become deaf to it – it is as if the world has fallen silent – he stops – he tilts his head to one side and looks into your eyes … his eyes sparkle as his gaze penetrates- he raises an eyebrow as a gentle smile breaks across his face as if to acknowledge the wonder of it all – the donkey stirs, you move back and he is lost once more to the crowd – transfixed to the spot, the crowd moves on around you – the noise returns to your ears – you stare ahead – and you wonder …. What now? Life has been interrupted.