Holidays are great times to consider how I did things in the past. Those special days bring up fun–and funky–memories that remind me why I do what I do now. Memories that’ve shaped who I am and how I respond to life.
Palm Sunday was yesterday. Growing up in the Chicago area, this time of year was often cold and snowy. But it heralded quite a few significant things in my life.
The beginning of spring break. No school for a week. No school was always good.
The end of winter gray. Even though gray would hang around awhile longer.
One week till the jellybeans. I’ve always preferred them to chocolate bunnies and Peeps.
Every Palm Sunday we were given palm fronds in Sunday school to re-enact the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. On the back of a donkey.
As a child, I had a lot of questions.
Where did they get these funky looking fronds? I’d never seen a palm tree.
Why would anyone choose to ride on the back of a donkey? I’d seen those in zoos and knew them to be stubborn, hard to control. They weren’t that big. I pictured Jesus dragging His feet on the ground.
The people welcomed Him with incredible joy. Calling, “Hosanna!” (I thought it might be Jesus’ middle name.)
A week later, these same folks would be demanding His death. Generally having a neighborhood party as they watched Him being beaten and crucified. One of the most painful, humiliating ways to be executed.
It made no sense to me. How people could be so fickle. So crazy with their affections.
Loving Him one minute; demanding His death the next.
I preferred thinking in terms of cute bunnies, colored eggs and candy.
Jesus was very specific in how He represented Himself. The promised Messiah. The Chosen One.
He knew people were looking for a military king to free them from physical bondage to Rome, which was oppressive and cruel.
He’d spent three years teaching, proving with miracles, words and actions that He was the Son of God.
When He finally enters Jerusalem, He comes on a donkey. A humble animal. An animal that kings rode in times of peace. Horses were reserved for war.
He was coming to bring eternal peace to the world. Not just a temporary respite from pain.
Hosanna means “save”. For a moment, they looked to Him to save them.
Great intentions never last. The people turned against Him.
There are times when I struggle with that peace-giving picture of Jesus. I’d prefer Someone who’d wipe out those who hurt me. Who’d make my life free from pain and misunderstanding.
Pretty much the life of a puppet.
The beginning of this last week of His earthly life, Jesus came as the King of Peace. The only One who can make us whole. Heal us.
I wouldn’t have chosen His way of doing things.
But then I’d never know the reality of true love and hope.
Not a power-threatening King. But a a peace-giving, life-promising, hope-assuring King.
I’ll go His way.