Palm Sunday Reflections

ImageIn my Methodist church, Palm Sunday begins with beautiful music and people entering the lovely old building waving palm fronds just as Jesus’ followers did when he humbly entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  In the space of little more than an hour, however, this joyful procession turns to darkness as from Mark is read the story of the events leading to Jesus’ death on the cross.  It is a story of betrayal and denial familiar to all who practice the Christian tradition.

As I hear the words from the scripture, my heart fills with sadness and by the time the words of Were You There fill the church I am close to tears, not because of the story but because I wonder  about my response had I been there to witness the events of those days.  Would I have been one of those to whom Jesus made a difference?  Would I have been bold enough to follow Him into Jerusalem, unafraid to let the powers that be see what it meant to receive unconditional love?  Would I have been willing to step forward in an effort to save Him from an unfair death or would I have been one in the crowd yelling loudly to crucify Him?  And, as Stephen King wonders in his recent novel 11/22/63 exploring the Kennedy assassination, how different would things have been had not the event occurred?

Having been brought up in the Christian faith, it is possible to think I would have been there, an ally of Jesus to the bitter end, but I don’t know for sure that is the case. In reality, I may have known nothing of Jesus or if I had what my attitude toward Him would have been.  In truth, I might have been one of the voices screaming for His death.   The only certainty is that I will never know the answer to those thoughts that race through my head as I experience Palm Sunday, and as the story is read again and again it is likely I will continue to wonder.

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8 thoughts on “Palm Sunday Reflections

  1. On a serious note: I can hope I would have been one of the ones who stood up for what was right and not one of the ones baying for blood.. but look at what happened in Nazi Germany, good people got indoctornated and terrible things happened that made monsters of ordinary people. Unless I was actaully in the thick of it, how could I know what I would do?
    On a far less serious note: I might thave been the one blogging about the event … or the reported chiseling out notes for the local news 🙂

    1. How right you are about not knowing what you would do unless you were involved. That’s what makes for such a troubling question.

  2. I pretty much know where I would be——on the middle road watching it all going on, agonizing over what was right. Carry it forward to today and I am still on that middle road, agonizing. Whether talking politics, religion, social issues, etc., there is no middle today. Only extremes and I agonize over the fact that I don’t fit either camp. My prayer is an adaptation of that well known one, ” help me to know what I should believe literally, and what I should allow myself to interpret the way I feel it truly is, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My measuring device is whether it fits with what the core message of Christianity proclaims. That doesn’t always fit with those “waving their palm branches.’
    All that being said, I think ‘God’ wants us to care enough to wonder or agonize, and that is what spiritual growth is made of.

    1. You are not alone trying to figure it all out. Crazy how the extremes have made things so difficult for those of us who are not extremists.

  3. We were given palm branches to wave during our worship in song yesterday morning. It was very touching to see the branches swaying in praise! It makes me wonder how that crowd of long ago went from a praising, worshiping group of people, to ones who saw their Savior crucified just a few short days later. Our evening sermon was on the sorrows of Jesus. And I too wondered what I would have done back then. Would I have gone along with the crowd & turned my back on the one that paid the ultimate price?

    1. I’m glad to know, Sheila, that I am not alone in my wonderings.

  4. Likewise, I attended a moving Palm Sunday service. I feel confident that you, like I, would never call for anyone to be crucified. So although you may not have been there like the Marys….you surely would not have been part of the blood thirsty crowd who wanted Jesus to suffer and die.

    1. I hope you are right, my friend.

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