Palm Sunday and Holy Week
Please review the scripture from this weekend: Matthew 21:1-11.
In Hampton, Nebraska there lives an elder. She purposefully keeps a palm branch every year on Palm Sunday to remember joy, life, and hope.
I’m confident that there is more we would love to learn about this woman Pastor Michelle described in her sermon. That palm branch was her singular reminder of all things new and the power of rebirth each year.
There is certainly something metaphorical here. Here’s one perspective: Might we say joy remains attainable even when we’re under the weight of relentless grief, ambiguous loss, and anxiety on so many levels.
So let’s reflect: What has been your palm branch in the last year? Walking? Singing? Journaling? Reading the same passage every day? It could be almost anything.
My reminders—my palm branches—haven’t been glamorous. They have been small buds on a tree that was never uprooted in dark and strange times. For me these have been playing a single song to lift me from low points; listening to a friend share with me her deepest concerns; tickling my young daughters until they spiral into laughter; and looking to my husband and knowing that together our souls are now and eternally mingled with God’s soul.
And as familiar as we may be with the celebratory story of Palm Sunday, there is a foreshadowing of fear and death. It compels us to examine and question: What sway does death have in the way we live? What does it mean to us daily that the God-Man, Jesus, conquered the physical act of dying and renewed humanity forever through his universe-altering sacrifice? These are big questions that are worth consideration on any day, in any season.
Some days we simply sit in layers of bewilderment or awe.
Other days we peel back layers inside ourselves.
And God is beside us as we unfurl them.
Thankfully, He is not deterred by the peaks and depths that we face in our human experience. After all, Jesus embodied the purity of birth, the anguish of death, and the rebirth of us all.
God, I often have no idea how to explain how I feel as a human, especially when death is very near me, among my family or friends, or when my days are encompassed in sorrow and confusion. So please don’t forsake us when the going gets really rough and we are about to do or say something regrettable. We’re grateful that you understand how our hearts work and we can talk to you about anything. Amen.
Written by Joanna Clay
Joanna and her husband, Matt, live in Lincoln with their two young daughters, Emery and Madisen. The Clays have been members of the Sheridan community since 2014. Joanna is Senior Content Manager for a San Diego-based healthcare coaching company called Practicing Excellence. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, longboarding, binge-watching historical dramas, and connecting with others over life’s big questions.