This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday. The worship processional will be accompanied by the wave of Palms symbolizing Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. But was it really a triumph? One has to wonder, since we know that later in the week, the ones waving palm branches at His entrance into Jerusalem were the same ones shouting crucify Him.
Holy Week we think of the waving of Palms and the Passion of Christ as two stories in one week. However, it’s all just one story. It’s all a part of story of love and hope that God sought to bring to our human experience.
The reality is that, if we figure to survive in this world, we had better have hope. The ancients knew that. Growing up I remember reading the story of Pandora. Mythology has her as a lady endowed with every charm…the gift of all the gods. She was sent to earth with a little box which she had been forbidden to open, but curiosity finally got the better of her…she lifted the lid and out from that box escaped every conceivable kind of terror. Pandora made haste to close the box up again, but it was too late. There was only one thing left…HOPE. That was the ancients’ way of saying how important hope is. Even when all else is lost, there is still hope.
Hope was what had sustained the Israelite faith from generation to generation. This was what energized the crowd along Jesus’ parade route that day. While it didn’t turn out as they had hope that day and week, The Hope of Christ sustained them past the tragedy of Holy Week to the coming Sunday of Easter.
That same hope reminds us each year on Palm/Passion Sunday that we can see past the tragedies, disappointments and every conceivable kind of terror in this life. Despite the events of Palm Sunday and worse, the Passion of Jesus that Holy Week, Easter is coming next Sunday so we know that hope overcomes every conceivable kind of terror we might face in our lives. We are still able to proclaim as the Psalmist did saying: “You are my God. My times are in Your hand: … Let Your face shine upon (me)” save me in Your steadfast love.”
Join us for Palm/Passion Sunday. While we will be waving palms we will also be remembering “Palm/Passion Sunday: A Tragedy and a Triumph” in light of the coming of Easter and a Celebration of the Resurrection … a resurrection of hope! The scripture text for the sermon this week is “Psalms 31:14-16” and “Luke 19:28-38.”