This past Sunday, I had a privileged perspective. Walking into the sanctuary with the palm fronds waving like a sea of green was powerful! One little girl said, “I felt like a disciple in Jerusalem and we were all celebrating Jesus the king together.” That experience takes on a different light in part because just as we arrived at the front of the Sanctuary there was the humbling task to sit with children, palm fronds underfoot, and remind them that the king we just celebrated is a king who will be crucified and who will be raised.
As adults we often focus on the individual events of Holy Week. I remember in Seminary being warned against rushing to the resurrection; yet for children, we have to tell the whole story. Holy Week begins with Jesus’ entrance into the city, continues to the dinner with his disciples, to the prayer in Gethsemane, to the trial, to the betrayals, to the cross, to the tomb and on to Easter morning. We share the big picture in order to place the individual events in relationship to one another. It’s hard! It would be much easier to end Palm Sunday with a few more raucous “Hosannas” and move straight on to Easter celebrations.But telling that story, each and every year, has taught me that no matter our age, we need to hear it and even live it from beginning to end.
I hope and pray that each of you finds time and space this week to contemplate the mystery and love that lives because of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. Maybe it will be in your own devotional readings, maybe it will be gathered around a table on Maundy Thursday, or sitting in the sanctuary that night watching as the chancel is stripped. Maybe you will find that space on Good Friday as the youth lead us or at night as music guides us. Maybe you’ll be one of those who gather with the rising sun, just like the women so long ago. Whether it’s just a moment, or a whole week, I hope you experience the promise of these days again and again.