There is just no other way to put it, the reports of what is going on are depressing. Regardless of the news source you choose, predictions for the future are dire. While it is good for us to be able to prepare for future challenges, to allow oneself to be continually bombarded with negatives can lead to despair and hysteria.
One of the purposes of making Sunday a day of worship is that it allows us to take a step back from the urgencies which dominate our lives and look at the big picture. As Christians we need to remind ourselves of what is most important. Given the current crises, it is all the more essential for us to do just that as we celebrate Palm Sunday.
You know the story well. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey. A crowd of people pick up palm branches and shout, “Hosanna!” Palm Sunday is the happy beginning of a most dreadful week in the ministry of Jesus. For only five days later he would be crucified. And yet, there were no accidents or coincidences which caused Jesus to go from hero to scapegoat. It had all been planned out long before the events happened.
The message of Palm Sunday is pretty straightforward: Jesus claims to be our king in every sense of the word. And what a king he is, so committed to our good that he willingly allows himself to be sacrificed on a cross. The king dies for his people so that human death would be transformed into a transition rather than a finality.
Palm Sunday is the starting point of the Christian’s celebration that everything is going to work out in the end. There will be tragedy. The future is uncertain. But King Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms, the end is sure. And what an end it is!
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