An Invitation: to sit with the palms
Today is Palm Sunday. The Sunday before Easter. For some that means nothing. For others it brings memories of children dancing and singing in the aisles waving real or paper palms. As I reflected on my own experience I remember feeling like the sermons of Jesus' triumphal entry was more just a way to get to the guilt. The guilt of praising Jesus one day and then betraying Him the next. So today I decided to sit with the palms. To focus only on this day. Put myself in the story.
As I read through the different accounts of the Triumphal Entry in the gospels I chose the one from Luke 19 because I liked the last line "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (Sometimes I feel like Jesus was a poet.)
Anyway I read through the passage taking in the details.
Letting go of all of theology-ish and doctrine-y things I'd learned about it.
Then I let my imagination unfold.
Who was I in the story?
Take a deep breath. What do I smell?
Take a look around. What do I see?
How am I dressed? Who else is there?
What's going on around me?
When I'm in the story I begin to notice:
How do I feel? What's going on inside of me?
What am I thinking?
I read a little more.
Today, I was a older teenage girl. I'd been at a party thrown by my friends Mary and Martha as they were celebrating the fact that their brother Lazarus had been brought back to life. That in itself is a completely different story. I knew some stuff about Jesus. He was there at the party. He was a bit older than me, but there was something that drew people to him. A kindness. An energy of life.
Anyway, the crowd started to line the street and I'm kind of shy so I usually am at the back of the crowd. It was dusty. Warm.
I watched his friends take their coats off and put them on the donkey. He hopped on up. I still wasn't sure what exactly was happening. People were whispering and watching. A breeze came through the crowd and today Jesus came riding into town on a donkey.
His friends began taking their coats off and putting them down in front of him. Some people began to grab palms from the date trees. Cutting their hands from their strong sinewy stems and protective thorns. Pulling the branches off. Placing them in the street like a beautiful carpet. I threw off my overcoat and placed it on the ground. And my heart began to well up. This man. His peaceful way.
And someone started to loudly start telling about all of the amazing things Jesus had done. I had only heard some of the stories. His donkey walked over my coat and I picked it up, dusted it off and then they started to sing! The breeze filled my heart and I followed Jesus...
Sitting with the story of the palms for today brings me to praise. Praise Jesus for the miracles he does in, around and through us every day.
Who are you in the story? What will sitting with the palms teach you?