A Palm Sunday Reflection

Children dressed in their best, march into the sanctuary, as the congregation sings “All glory, laud and honor to you, redeemer king.” Joyful celebration carries us as our king arrives into the city with a glorious parade. Yet it doesn’t take long for the parade to be dampened as bystanders begin to cry “Crucify him.”

Today, those shouts of Hosanna are especially muted. Yet as video clips came in, of children of all ages, with unbridled joy, shouting Hosanna, I couldn’t help but listen to them over and over. A holy celebration now in social distance style. The holiest of parades I’ve ever seen in my 42 years on this Earth. A parade fit for the one who God sent into the world for each and every one of us.

Jesus still arrived this morning. I saw that in all the worships and colleagues I watched. Jesus arrived as palms on our hands, tree branches, colored palm branches, and palms of all shapes and sizes waved, announcing our king’s arrival.

Jesus still arrived in the midst of isolation, anxiety, fear and even stupidity. Jesus still arrived as our medical professionals continue to work on the front lines of this pandemic. Jesus still arrived as we sat in our own homes shouting Hosanna to our king. Jesus still arrived and will walk us from the holy table, to the cross, to the tomb and ultimately to the empty tomb.

I don’t know about you, my friends, but I need to wave my palm branch today. I need to celebrate the joy of this one who rode into the city. And I need to sit at the table with Judas and Peter and to be reminded that even the ones who betrayed and denied him where welcomed there. I need to stand at the foot of the cross, grieving his crucifixion and death. But most of all, I need to come to the empty tomb next Sunday to hear my, to hear our shouts of “Hosanna” turned to joyful proclamation of “Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

So today, as you wave your palm branches and shout Hosanna, may you be wrapped in God’s love and peace. May you be reminded that this week begins the holiest of weeks where we journey from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to the Lords tables, to the cross and finally to the empty tomb; where death is ultimately defeated.