Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday. It is a remembrance of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. There are so many spiritual lessons to be gleaned from that occasion. First, he came on the donkey or ass rather than the horse. The riding in on a horse would have symbolize war. Coming in on the donkey was a statement that this warrior came to bring peace of a sort. Secondly, there were various plant branches and rushes hurled in his path. The most famous of which were palm, although some historical evidence also suggests some other plants were likely part of the assemblage. That evidence also suggests the ritual of placing one’s clothing beneath one’s feet, as a sign of respect and humility. Palms among ancient north Afrikans were symbols of eternal life. In the Roman context, this idea had been wholly materialized and they became instead the symbol of military victory and victory over competition, of the goddess Nike. The correct symbolic meaning however is actually a fusion of the two, that THIS warrior would gain a victory but not a victory over the Romans in military contest, but a victory over death itself and bring forth eternal life for all in so doing. Third, there is above all His reaction to this, which is not the joy of a conqueror or the smile even of a knowing monarch, but rather weeping. A weeping that is to parallel Christ response to several situations for He knows the hearts and aspirations of man and how those are often not the will of God. He knows many of those who welcome Him wait for a temporal victory over immediate enemies and circumstances of their own when His task is to give a permanent one, changing the eternal circumstance for ALL. What is our lesson from this? Well, first, do we welcome Christ into our hearts, our temples, our homes. Do we greet Him with respect and humility as He comes? Do we understand that His way is often the way of great sacrifice and suffering and enduring and not always an immediate and decisive earthly victory over our burdens? Many Christians abandon the path when they come to a full understanding of the cup from which He drinks. Even the one called Paul continues in that lesson as he suffers affliction and God tells Him that the affliction and his endurance of it in suffering is part of His glory. We also know the rest of the story of the Week. To coin the phrase from a TV show, the Lord is about to have the “worst week ever” but then the greatest. He comes and is received with glory and desire, as we receive God when we are in need. And then with the problem seemingly solved and us back to our strength, we sometimes turn away, and the Lord feels our betrayal, denial, a separation from Him, and by us is He again crucified and yet still He says “Forgive Imani, you, for they know not what they do.” Do we accept Christ and ask him to abide in the Jerusalem of our heart that He establish within us his divine dominion, or do we ultimately lead Him to the marginalized Calvaries of our unfaithfulness. I challenge all and particularly Christians to welcome Him and to be unlike the Romans and many who hurled the palms, only to retract them and abandon their faith when circumstances changed. Hold fast to Him even unto Calvary and as you likely die with Him, in the context of the world, so too you have your portion of His eternal and not temporal victory over all negative circumstance, over death, and all that Satan would contrive to take your joy. Behold, He standeth at the door of your heart and knocks that if any man or woman, that if you, will open unto Him, He will dwell therein and abide. God bless you.

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