North Texas Conference Cabinet Holy Week Devotional For Sunday
"A Familiar Milestone" by Rev. Todd Harris
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The scene of Jesus riding into Jerusalem is a familiar milestone in our Lenten journey. It marks the beginning of Holy Week and points us toward God’s ultimate act of love and, finally, the message that death and evil have been conquered. Palm Sunday is the narrative of a humble King riding on a donkey that surprises many, while – for Matthew and others – it reflects the fulfillment of Zachariah 9:9. In this parade of parades, we see symbols of honor: cloaks on the donkey and colt, cloaks on the road and branches from the trees. This honor will fade as the week progresses, but, for now, Jesus is hailed as the awaited Son of David.
For as long as I can remember, Palm Sunday has included children entering the sanctuary for the parade of palms as the congregation sang “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.” I have long loved the facial expressions of the children as they walked the parade route. Many of the children had great smiles and laughter, while others were bashful and refused to make eye contact. Others rambunctiously waved their palm in the back of the head of the person just in front of them.
One year, I remember how a teenager in the crowd decided he did not want to miss the joy of children’s parade so he joined the march. His spontaneity inspired the next person, who inspired the next and then almost every person in the sanctuary joined the parade. It was quite the sight. I must confess that this year, because we’re sheltering in place and unable to participate, I want to join the parade more than ever. I want to join the parade and shout Hosanna, Hosanna.
It occurs to me that even though our Sunday parades have been halted, Jesus still enters. Not only does Jesus enter the street of Jerusalem, but Jesus enters our space and hears us shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Jesus hears our desperate cries in the midst of this horrific and terrifying pandemic: “Save us! Save us, O Son of David.” Jesus enters our homes and the darkest places of our souls. Jesus enters hospital rooms and places of isolation. Jesus enters the places of death and fear. Jesus enters the places of great hopelessness and points toward God’s greatest act of love and the promise of resurrection. Not only does he point toward it, but he guides us through it as we experience death and darkness but, ultimately, resurrection. No sheltering in place can stop our Humble King. Let us follow him in faith.
Questions for Reflection
- What will you miss this Palm Sunday?
- How does the message of Palm Sunday offer reassurance on your journey?
- Will you follow him this week as painful as it might be?
Thank you God for the gift of Palm Sunday and especially the gift of Jesus, who enters our darkness and despair offering hope. Give us the courage to follow him even to the cross so that we might know the gift of resurrection. Amen.
Rev. Todd Harris is the superintendent of the Northwest District.
Published: Sunday, April 5, 2020