Palm Sunday Pandemic Prayer

On this Palm Sunday, things are different.
No children waving palm branches in processions,
no collective singing of hosannas, loud hosannas,
no exultant crowds, here or anywhere.
The streets are quiet.
What resonates is the image of you, Jesus,
weeping over Jerusalem,
crying for a people surrounded by enemies,
who do not know the things that make for peace.

Our tiny, lethal enemy is invisible to the naked eye.
We jump when people cough,
we eye each other suspiciously,
not knowing where the danger is lurking.
We fear for all the vulnerable,
and we fear for ourselves.
As our lives are overturned,
and restrictions are put in place,
it’s not business as usual
and economic worries are added to the mix.
Anxiety settles like a dense cloud
over all the world.
We need you more than ever, Jesus.

You arrive humbly, unnoticed by many,
cheered by some.
You arrive in the early morning cars
of health workers showing up for their shifts.
You arrive on eighteen wheels as truckers
unload groceries and essential supplies.
You arrive by public transit as scientists
head to their labs day in and day out,
searching diligently for a virus vaccine.
You arrive on foot as neighbours
deliver meals to seniors stranded at home.
You arrive in the ricochet of signals off satellites,
as cyberspace messages of love circle our globe;
millions reaching out to say,
“Are you OK? I miss you.”

God, hear our prayer
from the lonesome valleys
of this world wide pandemic.
Open our hearts to the possibility
that today is the day of our visitation;
you walk triumphantly through closed doors,
meeting us when others cannot come.
Accept our solitary hosannas,
and gather us together in prayer:
“Blessed is the One
who comes in the name of the Lord.”

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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