April 1, 2012
Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. There is a lot of play-acting in the liturgical year. The point of this is to meditate on various aspects of God’s miraculous interaction with humanity. It is sort of like celebrating our dog’s birthday today. She doesn’t really understand that she is thirteen today. And yet we made her a special meal of pork chops for dinner and she got to open her presents (a bag of pig ears and a bed as it is getting harder for her to jump up on our bed). The celebration was really for us. We need to remember why she is special to us and rejoice that she continues to be an important member of our family. It also assures us that every member of our family is valuable and will be celebrated in turn.
So today we reflect on Jesus being welcomed in by the throngs of people preparing to observe the holy event of Passover. “Hear, O Isreal: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” That is how all of those people would have begun their Passover. That is how the disciples would have begun their Passover meal with Jesus. How much did they understand at that point? Did they get that they were sitting there in the presence of God? Did they understand that loving God with all their heart, soul, and might included loving Jesus? Did they comprehend how they failed?
Do we even come close to comprehending how much we fail? We can pray and try and strive to give our lives completely to service and yet still we fall short. I don’t say that with condemnation in my voice, more wonder. Wonder that God’s grace is so infinite that we are covered with it from beginning to end. We may not be able to love like we are commanded, but God does. God loves us. Infinitely and purely, God loves us.
Palm Sunday is really about Jesus coming. And it is not in the same way that we address Jesus coming during Advent or Christmas. On Palm Sunday we recognize that Jesus comes voluntarily. He could have dodged the bullet, but chose not to. He could have chosen a whole different way to save and to be. But he didn’t. Passion week begins and we are left in awe that Jesus comes to us and to the world, to communicate love from God.