Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Memories

Mother and I had a bunch of adventures all rolled into one trip this past week.  There were the unexpected side trips and delays, and the trip back home was not what we anticipated. It is a relief to know that when we do not seem to have any control over circumstances we can trust that God is in full control.  The unexpected trials are His gift to us.

As we traveled we had some wonderful conversations.  One morning Mother started talking about Palm Sundays when she was a little girl and it got me remembering.

Palm Sunday was special.   When we went to Sunday School that day there were Palm Branches waiting for us.  After our lesson, instead of the usual play time, we lined up and went down to the choir room.  The mothers were waiting there with our little surplices (you had to be an intermediate to get a real robe) and the palm branches.  There was the usual hilarity and rowdiness that goes along with any children's choir pre-performance, but Mrs. Shirley kept us in better-than-average control (we all knew she was not above swatting us if we needed it).  Finally we were lined up and inspected and met with her approval.  That's when we stopped for a moment to catch our breath and listen.  Mrs. Shirley or one of the Sunday School teachers would take a moment to remind us of what we had just heard in Sunday School; the reason why we were getting ready to celebrate.  We caught a glimpse of the excitement of the little children of Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday so long ago.  We knew that Jesus is coming back for us one day and we firmly believed that it could be that very day.  Finally we were led up the stairs and lined up waiting (quiet, in theory) in the hall behind the Sanctuary.  And then the moment came.  We heard the music and we marched in boldly, waving our palm branches and proclaiming with the children of long ago;


Oh, were we excited!  We tried to imagine what it would have been like to have been one of those little children.  We carefully put our palm branches in the aisles as we marched to the front singing.  We lined the front and we sang our songs of praise at the tops of our voices.

Things are different in most churches these days.  It seems like a long time since I have been in a church where Palm Sunday was celebrated with the excitement of my childhood.  It seems to receive barely a nod of the head to its significance.  I think that is a loss.  I think the children of today lose out when they don't participate in the excitement and anticipation of Palm Sunday.  I think that the elation of Palm Sunday serves a purpose in the church of underlining and highlighting the mourning of Good Friday.  I think that a Tenebrae service is enhanced by that emotional contrast.  I think that the Spirit of God may  work through these contrasts to enhance our joy on Easter Sunday and all it means.

I hope that we can set aside some time over these next six days to think about these things and to be willing to experience the week and its significance.  For now, I leave you with this:

They brought it (the colt) to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.  As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road.  As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: 
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!".  
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."  But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"                                                                                                                             Luke 19: 35-40
This is the picture I have always had in my mind when I think of Palm Sunday

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