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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

The morning sunlight made its way through stifling clouds of incense. The festive Liturgy has been lasting for two hours, and people exhausted by long fasting could hardly stand on their feet. The church members used to spend all the service staying on their feet - to show respect for God - and there was no exclusion, neither for old nor for children. Two hours, singing, crossing and blessing, low-headed, making numerous bows - for You, oh, Lord.

She woke up from praying when her little one stirred up in her baby-sling and required for feeding. There was literally no place for nursing. She moved back to leave the hall, not turning her back to the altar, catching dissatisfied glances. The priest shook his head.

“You tell us: give birth, a woman will be saved through procreation. But there is no place for children in your Church”, - she thought. The hall, where she escaped to, was empty. The smell of coffee running out of the kitchen reminded her that today they had fish and oil allowed for lunch. She perched on a bench and started breastfeeding trying to keep the baby’s head under the cover. If someone saw her breast, she might receive a severe reprimand. She took off her headscarf and shook her head. Everything remained about duty to suffer - her swollen legs, her empty stomach, her aching back, her irritated chest, and tired arms. Her husband was a good man, kind and supportive, but at the moment he could not help her but her, staying inside the prayer room watching their other kids who were tired and hungry either. But any food before the Communion is forbidden. She swallowed hungrily. Finally, the singers started: “Our Father…” - and she jumped up. The Liturgy was over. She was ready to come up to the Cup.

The prayer room was stuffed with people. Swaying in heavy festive vestments, Fr. Jonah entered the Lord’s Doors. It was a little cooler and not so stuffy in the altar room. The Book, The Blood, The Body. The Secret and the Miracle. God, give us.

From the corner of his eye, Fr. Jonah has noticed Martha stepping back and moving out to the hall holding baby Becky carefully. The rest of her family were standing right here: Ruth, Abigail, Maria, Noah, Agatha, Simon, and Jackob. He baptized them all. Little Rebecca was born against the doctor’s warnings, her birth cost was Martha’s heart failure. Fr. Jonah shook his head - Martha was younger than any of his own children.

Jonah’s heart was also tattered, but that was due to his long and selfless life - too much pain for just one heart. Fr. Jonah was an anesthetist in the hospital on workdays and served as a priest on Sundays. He knew everything about the pain and now he felt all the pains of the young woman. Her body and her soul seemed tortured, especially when she came to confession, where she quickly listed her little sins. Too tired, too disappointed. But there is no medication for that fanatic faith.

The priest drove off the dark thoughts and concentrated on the Sacrament. The choir started singing The God’s Prayer. The Liturgy was over. Fr. Jonah was ready to bear the Cup.

So much smoke and incense!.. How they breathe? The spring sun outside has melted all the snow and everything is so smiley and full of life! - Jesus looked at every inclined face, trying to find the gleams of love, hope, joy. Even the kids looked too pale and apathetic. A young mother went out to feed her baby. Jesus smiled - He loved kids. He neatly slipped after her to look at the baby. She was beautiful, busy smacking and trying to catch a little golden cross hanging on a chain on the mother’s chest. Jesus slightly touched Martha’s tired back. The young woman took off her headscarf and shook her hair

God, give us!.. - Jesus hurried to the altar room where one kind and tired heart was beating in prayer. He blessed the wine and the bread, as He has promised many-many years ago, and joined the prayer He has taught to people. That was His favorite moment, because every voice in that church fused into one beautiful song, breaking everything that had separated them before, even the smoke dissipated. Together! Finally, together!

The Liturgy was over. He was ready to bear the Cup.

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