Palm Sunday was canceled last year due to a snow storm that came through Sunday morning. Not this year. It is April, getting green outside with seasonal blooming and allergies. All very fitting for a faith season called Lent, an old word for “spring,” and a yearly time to recall and reclaim the depth of what it means to be a Christ person.
Christ person? Yes, someone who lives the pull of Christ to embrace a life anchored in knowing and following the man from Galilee, known to us as the Son of God. Following him and knowing God through him is not a cultural label or a set of American guidelines for a nice life. Seeking to know and follow Christ is experiencing the living presence of God. It is expansive grace that invites us to unbind from superficial and fleeting values and see the world through eyes of love and trust. Too often it has been used as just a “map quest” destination route instead of a pathway of living. Following Christ offers us opportunity to live joyfully in a world that never escapes the hurt of being alive. A Christ person knows scars are a part of real wholeness.
As such a person we take a deliberate pause every year to remember the core story of our faith. Jesus was born into a world that needed new eyes to understand “God.” He became the feet, the hands, the voice, bent on teasing us into God’s vision of a “kingdom” where love was deregulated from human tampering.
It did not go over well with those whose power and tampering felt threatened. The worst of human behavior was then played out in silencing his voice; scheming, betrayal, denial, power struggles, and ultimately violence unto death.
From this coming Sunday to the next we remember these events that altered our world. It starts simply, with an optimistic arrival, celebratory palm waving, at the capital of Jesus’ religion, Jerusalem, in time for the festival of Passover. Events turn ugly fairly fast. We call the ugly events, holy week, as Jesus takes on the worse human behavior in God centered passion. He literally goes all in to show us God’s true face. From Friday to Sunday morning ugly seems to win, but that is not how the story ends, in fact, it is just the beginning. Palm Sunday will lead us into the depth of the story and the following Sunday we can really celebrate.
Before the Easter celebration, we will gather around the communion table for a “Last Supper,” we call this Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, from an old word that means “commandment,” a new commandment to get back to the basics of loving one another.
Simple but not easy, God helps willing.