Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!
PALM SUNDAY AND HOLY WEEK
I have always loved Palm Sunday, even when I was a kid and did not really understand what was happening. Off and on for more than two thousand years, Christians around the world have celebrated the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Where palms are available, we wave them; other cultures have used different branches in their celebrations—box, yew, olive, and even pussy willows. Palm Sunday, a moveable feast, has in some places actually taken on the name of the branch used--hence, Box Sunday and Yew Sunday. A friend wrote me this week and said her church instead celebrates Passion Sunday. But it all boils down to the same thing, Christians celebrating the promises of God which He kept.
The week is full of emotional ups and downs—Holy Wednesday, sometimes called Spy Wednesday in reference to the betrayal of Jesus; Maundy Thursday, which celebrates the institution of Holy Communion, a major source of grace for Christians; Good Friday, when we solemnly recall Jesus on the cross suffering for our sins; and Easter Sunday, a time of rejoicing. My mother in law, the late but well remembered Marabel Rodell, refused to attend Good Friday services because they were too sad for her. But she believed, as I believe, and as Paul wrote, if Jesus was not resurrected from the dead, our preaching and faith are empty and we are false witnesses, still in our sins, and of all men the most pitiable. So we may have our little differences but they are small compared to what we hold in common.
He is risen! He is risen, indeed! I shall be mindful of each day of Holy Week but confess that I am impatient for the arrival of Easter Sunday! Next Sunday we will add back the Hallelujahs we omit during Lent. I might even sneak one in about mid week.