This Sunday we begin Holy Week, with worship services on Sunday, Thursday and Friday.
Do you remember your experience of Palm Sunday as a child – waving palm fronds and then saving them in your Bible? Do you recall Maundy Thursday Tenebrae services – with the room growing darker and darker? On Good Friday in my childhood church the pastor passed out nails and paper slips and asked us to write down our sins and nail them to the cross. I was careful to fold my paper in half, lest my fourth-grade sins be seen.
I hope you’ll make plans to attend all of these services. Your ability to understand the symbols of these services has deepened with age and experience. You may even be overwhelmed with what these services now mean. Don’t worry, we have tissue boxes in each pew!
As I prepare to preach this Palm Sunday on Luke’s story of Jesus approaching Jerusalem, I am overwhelmed. Luke’s story stuns me with its literary art, its timeless message about following Jesus, its contemporary relevance to the problems of religious leaders getting too cozy with political power. I think to myself: did I ever really read this story before?
But even more I ask myself, and I’ll ask you this Sunday, “Which Palm Sunday crowd are you in?” The crowd outside Jerusalem, or the crowd awaiting him inside?