I went to church today. Yesterday,  we saw a man, Lazarus, raised from the dead. It’s a strange time to be alive. I was there early to work on the camera and the computer, the things we use to make that dim glow through the digital veil. On my mind was the line from the Book of Tobit that Saint Sophronius used to begin his account of Saint Mary of Egypt last week, “It is good to hide the secret of a king, but it is glorious to reveal and preach the works of God.”

According to the calendar this is Palm Sunday, and there should be quite a crowd.  We should carry palm leaves and pussy-willows, and go for a good procession outside around the church with sounds of song and the smell of incense in the cool spring air. The meaning comes down and saturates our physical bodies as we participate in the service.

This year seems very different. The crowd has been removed from the scene, and I can imagine that it is quiet enough to hear the hooves of the donkey carrying the King of Glory into the city. They ring like the bells pealing in the tower compared to our small voices. The few of us circling the church are not a crowd.

If there are others watching this, they are not to be seen, hidden behind their windows, peeking through their curtains. I wonder if their ears are straining to hear those same hooves on the pavement and if they, too, are wondering what will happen next.

As I listen to those clopping hooves echoing off of the road and walls, exposed now by the removal of the crowd, someone says quietly, “If the people were to hold their peace, even the stones would cry out.” Is this what it would sound like? The lowest substance of the Creation itself will resonate when it feels the Logos passing over it. For now, this sound is shaped into a soft hoofbeat.

Troparion (Tone 1)
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion,
You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with the palms of victory,
We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death;
Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

Troparion (Tone 4)
When we were buried with You in Baptism, O Christ God,
We were made worthy of eternal life by Your Resurrection!
Now we praise You and sing: Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

Kontakion (Tone 6)
Sitting on Your throne in heaven,
Carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God!
Accept the praise of angels and the songs of children who sing:
Blessed is He that comes to recall Adam!