Practicing with some pre-schoolers last week for Palm Sunday, we had a little parade in our Sunday School room. As we marched, smiled, and waved at the invisible crowds I felt a real sense of excitement and joy from the children that I have always loved about Palm Sunday. There is this real overwhelming happiness that Jesus is entering the holy city.
Yet the excitement quickly turns to confusion, fear, disbelief, despair, deep sadness, and then just as quickly as these feelings came on – they disappear and give way to the joy of Easter.
This Holy Week journey is incredibly important even though it happens so fast. We must however be careful that as we prepare to experience it anew this year – that we allow ourselves to stay in the moment. Sometimes I can hold onto the joy of Palm Sunday to help me get through the sorrow of Good Friday, or I can get stuck in the misery and suffering of the crucifixion.
I encourage you as Palm Sunday and Holy Week approach to be able to stay in the moment. Allow yourself to fully engage in the Palm Processional. Encourage your children to feel the emotions of each day and event. Don’t rush, but don’t get stuck. Hop on and get ready for the ride – trying to remain open for the the Holy Spirit to work and speak to you at every moment.
- I wonder…
- what feelings you have as you travel to celebrate holidays with those you love.
- what feelings the disciples might have had, traveling to and entering Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.
- what the crowds were expecting of Jesus as they spread cloaks and palms down in front of him in celebration?
- who was afraid of Jesus and his disciples?
- what they were really afraid of?
- who are we (the church) afraid of today?
- what keeps us from entering so bravely into the city to bring the message of God’s love – especially for the poor and the weak, as well as the powerful that keep others poor and weak?
Holy God of surprises and parades, your courage and bravery give us strength. As we approach this Palm Sunday, we excitedly celebrate your coming to our cities and our lives. We don’t know exactly what will happen, or how we will feel – yet as we walk this Holy Week journey with you, help us to keep our eyes on you. Give us the strength to be your followers wherever the Spirit may lead us. In your holy and triumphant name we pray, Amen.