Today’s Gospel: Mark 14:1—15:47 – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
I take a palm frond in my hand. In all the excitement I raise it higher in the air and wave it around, while singing ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’ Everyone around me does the same; the children jumping, smiling and dancing as we make our way from the back of the church to our seats. There is joyful exuberance here. It is Palm Sunday.
But it doesn’t take too long to create a somber atmosphere as we listen to the Gospel. It’s chilling how quickly we can go from praise to protest, isn’t it? It’s almost like the Gospel is our own lives reflected here – swinging from praising God in all His works to protesting; protesting the harm done to us, or the unfair conditions, or whatever else has overtaken our concern. Peter – even the great rock – also swings from praise to protest as he denies knowing Jesus.
What would it look like, I wonder, if we could swing from praise to praise? The Resurrection gives us the foundation to give praise instead of protest. But it is a difficult walk from Palm Sunday through Cavalry to the Resurrection. We can get stuck on that walk before the Resurrection. Today’s reading reminds us how common it is for us to begin in praise and yet end in protest. We all sing ‘Hosanna’ and also say ‘Crucify him!’
God’s mercy offers us something deeper, though. That something deeper is Jesus. Jesus, the first one to walk from Palm Sunday to the empty tomb. No matter how big our protest is, Jesus has looked at it and faced it already. He’s still offering His unending love. In our anger, frustration, and apathy, Jesus invites us into that love. Let us embrace this invitation and be enveloped in God’s praise.
What protest in my life is Jesus asking me to give over to Him to transform into praise?
Jesus, we sing Hosanna and also cry out ‘Crucify’. Take our hearts and bring them close to You in our protest so that we may sing Your praise at all times.
Copyright 2018 Jane Korvemaker
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