I put on my alb, tied the cincture around my waist and draped my towel. As we were waiting in the entry of the church, I placed my hands inside my pocket. I pulled out a pocket full of tear stained Kleenex from Ben’s funeral. A smile came across my face for a brief moment as I remembered celebrating Ben’s life together with so many of my beloved friends a few weeks ago. It was a bittersweet moment.
Then we processed into the sanctuary waving our palm branches. As we celebrated Palm Sunday, with the palms spread out for the king, I was reminded again of the reality of this Holy Week. A week that begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, then his last supper, his crucifixion and death, and finally to the empty tomb. An extravagant reminder that death does not have the final word.
I’ll admit that this Lent, a huge part of me wants to run directly to the empty tomb. Yet I need to walk through this Holy Week experiencing every aspect of this week. I need to wave my palm branches high announcing the arrival of this king. I must sit at the Lord’s Table knowing it is for all of us. I must cry out as Jesus was crucified. I will tremble knowing what Christ has done for me; done for all of us. And then I will wait and come to the tomb on Easter morning to find the empty tomb.
This Lenten wilderness has been so very long. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to collapse onto the road; weary, so very weary. Yet today, as we celebrate Palm Sunday and Jesus entry into the city, I can’t help but see glimpses of that resurrection hope. A beloved Wartburg Seminary professor commended to God’s care on this very day; a fitting entry into God’s kingdom. My friend Ben’s favorite team winning their game (Rock Chalk Jayhawks!) Children joyfully dyeing Easter eggs. Simple signs that new life is on the horizon.
And with these simple glimpses and having traveled down this Lenten weary road, I’m so ready to walk down this road to find the tomb empty on Easter Sunday. I’m ready to triumphantly declare, “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!