Lent blog #11
I don't quite understand Palm Sunday...
or the way that it's been celebrated in churches I've been in.
I started crying during the service last week. That's kind of weird since it's Palm Sunday, which is supposed to be a happy service full of joy and anticipation for the coming of the Lord into Jerusalem. And it was an exciting service full of "Hosanna", and palm branches, and a sermon on God's love... but I still started crying.
There were two thoughts that I really had while we were celebrating Jesus:
1) Why is it that the children are the only ones with palm branches?
But really... service I've been in generally have children with palm branches, or just the choir... which is a great demonstration of waving palm branches to God.... but it just seems a little odd to me, I guess. I think we all should be jumping out of seats with excitement of the coming of the Lord.
2) Why am I celebrating?
Don't get me wrong, I know why I'm celebrating. What I think I really mean, is why am I celebrating when I know the end of the story... when I know that less than a week later I will be shouting, "Crucify him!"
I was just struck down by the sense of guilt that I can't quite explain. Because I see me in that story. This isn't the version of me in the first century. This is the version of me now. I see myself getting caught up in the excitement, but questioning all I know when it comes time to judging whether this Jesus person should be put to death or not. How do I feel about him? Is this faith, or is it being caught up in the crowd?
Because I like to think that I would have the faith to stand apart... but I can't quite say. I've never been put up to that point of stress and pressure to deny what I believe in. I can't say what it's like to have a gun put to your head, or a whip on your back, or thrown in prison, or have your whole community turn from you... if I say yes to having the faith that I have. I can't imagine it quite frankly, because it is not the world that I know.
What I do know is that Jesus was a great teacher, a healer, a friend to the friendless, and a man who was in his very essence God. So with my lesson of grace that has been planting itself upon me this Lenten season, I should look at the characters in the Bible not just as fictional people who lived thousands of years ago and shouted to kill my savior and denied him... but I should look at them with grace, because beneath it all I see myself.
and there he comes... riding on a donkey.