The second Sunday of Covid-19 lockdown. Last Sunday we were able to see a live-streamed Eucharist from our daughter and son-in-law’s sitting room; but today technology has revealed its weaknesses. Or perhaps it’s just me? The Church of England’s Palm Sunday service had been pre-recorded in a number of places: the Bishop of Manchester’s study, the archdeacon of Manchester’s garden, and the home of Lucy Hargraves in Bolton; and hymns had been slotted in. Suffice to say it didn’t quite work for me: the problem being, perhaps, that we have come to expect a level of professional, visual slickness on TV, which this just didn’t seem to reach, despite the evident sincerity of the participants.
Then – trying to log in to the Liturgy of Palms from St Stephen's church, St Alban’s, where our son-in-law Patrick ministers, I found I needed a Google account. A what, for goodness’ sake? So – more frustration. Then, the Bishop of Chichester’s live-streamed service from his chapel at 10.30. The screen told me for over half an hour that ‘this event has not yet started’. But actually it had – as I discovered when the screen came alive with Bishop Martin giving the final Blessing! So: how can I capture the essence of Palm Sunday without an electronic device? Find a quiet place; open the Gospel of St Matthew at Chapter 21; read the words; imagine the scene; reflect; pray. Simple!