“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9
Today is Palm Sunday. Children and adults in Sunday services all over the world are waving palm branches in celebration of the Christ, the one who entered Jerusalem in a parade of accolades fitting for the coming Messiah. Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, Jesus’ last week on earth leading up to the cross.
I’ve always found Palm Sunday to be a mix of emotions. I’ve always wanted to celebrate Jesus’ arrival into the Holy City along with the crowds of people mentioned in the Gospels, but knowing what’s coming next, his suffering, arrest, crucifixion and death tends to put a damper on the day. Even though the resurrection is coming, the pathway to the cross is almost unbearable.
I remember Christmas and Easter taking on new meanings once I devoted my life to Christ. When I became a Christian in high school, the following Christmas and then Easter took on a greater understanding, as they should. I read carefully the stories of the Christ in thoughtful solitude, worshipping and celebrating the acts of Jesus for all of humanity. Today I read again the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem in a similar way. I’m in awe of his willingness to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.
The crowds shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!“ — and they were correct in doing so. Jesus is the Holy One, he is the Messiah, He is blessed, He is God. They rightly identified Jesus as the conquering king and coming messiah, but the turn in the road, namely the Cross, was unexpected for most. If today I shout with joy, on Thursday I’ll cry like a baby. I will celebrate this Sunday and sulk the rest of the week until next Sunday when the the unexpected happens.
As I said, Palm Sunday for me is filled with a mix of emotions. I worship the Christ and lament his loss of life for it was my sins which put him in this impossible situation. He chose to die for us so we might live.
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord….”
“O Lord God, this Sunday is a sobering start to the week. A week in your life which we will remember for all eternity. A week in which you obeyed the plan set before you by your Father. You submitted to that plan and sought to save our souls. Come now, Holy Spirit, I pray for strength for the Christ to endure, to stand up under the suffering, to rise again once and for all. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen