Sunday was a day of celebration as many churches throughout the District and Conference found innovative ways to commemorate Palm Sunday. Although we were unable to gather in our places of worship to wave palms and shout loud hosannas, I still felt the excitement that this Holy Day brings.
I have had the honor of standing at the top of the Mount of Olives. It is difficult to put into words how it feels to stand at the top of that significant hill, gaze across the Kidron Valley and look at the Golden Gate of the Holy City of Jerusalem. One can only imagine what the traffic in and out of the gate was like on the day we celebrate as Palm Sunday. What a parade that must’ve been as Jesus rode down that steep hill and into the Holy City. I can only guess at the number of people who were there, and what noise they must’ve made. I am sure there was laughter along with the songs our Savior heard that day.
But what was it like for Jesus, who knew what would happen as this same week drew to a close? He had already planned the most holy Passover meal of His lifetime. He arranged for the disciples to make their way to a room, which was already prepared. He washed the disciples’ feet and told them how the night would end. Knowing that He would be betrayed, Jesus shared the words of the new covenant with all of them, offering each one the bread and the cup of new life.
Pain and suffering followed the celebration There was a time of darkness for our Lord and Savior. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are for us a time of remembrance, a time of regret, and a time of mourning. The first time my family watched the film King of Kings, I remember asking my sister why did Jesus have to die? I still ask that question as I keep vigil on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Even though I know Sunday’s coming, part of my Christian journey is to spend time in the valley that has led to our redemption and salvation.
On Palm Sunday, even amidst the celebration of Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, part of me is focused on Thursday and Friday, the last days of the Lenten Season. And on Thursday and Friday, I begin to consider the brightness and joy of Easter morning.
This year will be a different kind of Easter celebration. We will turn our homes into worship places and holy spaces as we retell and relive the story of the Risen Savior. May we do so with the same joy each Easter morning brings, as we renew promise our Lord made to us as we live out the new covenant of salvation. Hallelujah and Amen.