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Reflections on Palm Sunday

April 14, 2014

There is a certain color of blue that is unique to a morning sky in the spring. It is not quite periwinkle but still has more purple than baby blue. This mysterious shade of blue serves in sharp contrast to the new leaves budding on trees. The brightness of the baby leaves, the green of spring that has not yet matured into summer green, stands out against the blue sky.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. The crowd shouted, “Hosannah!” and worshiped the King who rode into town on a donkey. They waved their palm branches, a different skygreen altogether, in celebration of a man they didn’t understand but were sure they supported. Their shouts echo in my ears today. I can feel the breeze created by the branches. My mind’s eye looks around the crowd, taking note of the faces there.

The woman over there…her hair is gray but her eyes are young. She enthusiastically waves her branch with a strength that is newly found. She celebrates inclusion after 12 years of being unclean, on the outside, left out.

The man to my left has skin as soft as a baby’s. His eyes shine with hope renewed and his wife and daughter cling to his side.

The woman and her son across the path from me hold a palm branch in their clasped hands. Together they wave it at the man who gave them more years together.

I recognize the man down the way from me as one who once begged at the city gate. His parents aren’t with him but he focused his newly healed eyes on Jesus without blinking.

The sky is that strange blue that seems to pulse with the energy of a storm not yet begun. It feels close, the sky, close enough to grasp. The clouds have taken on a blue-ish shadow as they grow heavy with rain that has yet to fall. New life enters with drama. It seems to push its way in with force and thunderous cries.

I am reminded that these branches will not last. The ‘Hosannah’s’ will fade from the air. Just 5 weeks ago, ashes were imposed from branches such as these.

This year’s Hosannah is next year’s ash.

The circumstance, the healing, the situations will change. The woman will grow older. The man will wrinkle. The son will bury his mother. The man’s eyes will cloud again with age. The storm will break. The branches will rot. We can’t stake our claim to faith on the hosannahs. They will become but dust, a memory.

So we are left with King.

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