The remains of the once animated palms now lay abandoned on the ground. The street cleaners had done their job well following the jubilation of the crowd the day before. Everybody was excited to see Jesus riding down the winding narrow road on a colt. The words, “Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” rose in their hearts and sprang easily from their mouths. After all, Jesus was the one who had bestowed upon them many blessings. It was in the big and small things that Jesus performed that many had come to really believe in God, and know that each person, no matter how lowly or troubled, was significant in God’s eyes! For in the name of God, this Jesus was not above touching the untouchable, healing the afflicted, imparting sight to the blind, and straightening those who were bent over. Even those who had not received a direct or personal healing for themselves, had received hope through the healing of others. The words “Hosanna, Hosanna” was the blessing they were glad to give to this extraordinary leader who, in the name of God, provided extraordinary blessings for the people.
However, like the Monday blues following a glorious weekend, the few remaining palms were now shriveled, frayed, and forgotten on the ground. The places on the trees where the branches had been cut, stood out like a sore thumb, in the eyes of the religious elite. With the previous day’s jubilations gone, the rumblings and vengeful stirrings of “haters” were beginning to solidify.
How soon we seem to forget our triumphs and blessings shortly after they pass!? Pollsters know this reoccurring reality very well. Nagging doubts, critiques and resentments easily regain their suspended energy, and creep back to threaten our faith. Negative forces have always tried to outmaneuver Grace and quench the joy-filled moments of our lives. We must not let them.
For the duration of this week, we continue our passage with Jesus through Jerusalem to Calvary. So then, let us prayerfully insert our full selves into this journey–for much will unfold before we get to the end. Don’t hurry or shortcut the path, but look, listen, taste and smell the various blessings along the way. It is my prayer that God’s grace will meet us along the way in unexpected ways.
May God bless us and Keep us the Holy Week.
Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley
Regional Executive Minister
American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York
P.S. Christian across the globe have been threatened in their places of worship even during this holy season. A Palm Sunday attack in Egypt at two Coptic churches killed dozens and injured many more. During this Holy Week let us keep all of our sisters and brothers in prayer, asking for God’s protection and peace to those who follow Christ, as well as others who are persecuted for keeping other faiths. Let us continue the journey to the cross—remembering with hope, God’s love for us.