Today is Palm Sunday, the start of a week-long journey to Jerusalem and the cross. Today though the cross seems a million miles away as the crowds celebrate and hope for a change. Branches raised high in pews today were tossed along the path for the donkey to trod upon. This day, this holy day, says it all about our own faith journeys. They are a roller coaster.
Many days we can sing Hosanna and wave our arms in utter joy and thanksgiving to the King of Glory. This One we celebrate took the form of a slave, born in a human form, and yet divine. Every knee on earth will bend and every voice shall give praise at the name of Emmanuel.
The ecstatic scene shifts after the congregation processes with their palms. The readings are heavy–the Psalmist agonizes as to why God has forsaken us and then the Passion is read. Celebration flips to solemnity. We see our own humanity mirrored in the disciples. How many times have we said, “Surely not I, Lord?” or “I will never desert you” and yet as life unfolds we see we are no different than these intimate friends of Christ. We fail…miserably. We are human and some days we cannot stay on the path as much as we desire. We fall asleep. We disappoint ourselves. We try to be what we cannot be. Christ knows all of this. He knew then, and He knows now. The cock crows to remind us of our frailty. We weep.
The goal though is to not stay in a puddle, crying about our inadequacies. Christ did not die for that. Jesus died to show us we are forgiven. We can sometimes choose Barabbas and forsake the One who gave us Freedom but we must not stop there. We must choose again–every single day. Each time we do, we must try to seek out Jesus. We must stand at the foot of the cross, despite our betrayals, our short-comings, our sin, and our praise. Whether we wave the palms or sing the praise, we must take our place by the cross where we belong.
Today, raise your palm, sing hosanna, and know that tomorrow you may be distracted from the real journey. We are blessed to belong to a God of second, third, a thousand chances. This day, celebrate our King of Glory. The Passion is coming. We live with the tension of being Loved sinners. For the moment, let’s pause on Loved and meditate on what that might mean in our lives.