Holy Week

Painting by Liz Lemon Swindle

Palm Sunday is observed in Christian communities around the world. It begins Holy Week.  At many houses of worship palm fronds are distributed, usually by children.

In the Catholic tradition the palm fronds are sprinkled with holy water.  After the services the fronds are burned and their ashes are used on the Ash Wednesday in the coming year.

This is the day that Jesus, the Nazarene Teacher, rode triumphantly into Jerusalem with the people singing, placing palm fronds and whatever they found before him.  From the temple the High Priest and company watched the procession and the people.

Their concern and fear would become dominant during the week as they discussed what to do with this young rabbi and his followers. Days before he had raised Lazarus, a leading citizen, from the dead, just up the hill. Lazarus was leading the procession into Jerusalem.

For the people this was the pinnacle of their hopes and dreams.  They believed that  their ultimate deliverance from the Roman rule was at hand.  They did not comprehend the message that this young teacher was attempting to convey that the kingdom of heaven was a spiritual kingdom. Their eyes were too clouded by their own needs, wants and fears.

When you belong to the Kingdom of God, Roman dominance fades into the background.  For the reality of the Kingdom of God is the only reality which matters in the final analysis for the true believers.

Their sojourn on this earth is a brief interlude to that reality which waits beyond the sleep of death.  For them life is a preparation for the life to come which will not fade into suffering, old age and death.

Their song will have a place in the cosmic ocean.  For the star stuff of belief opens corridors of possibilities into that vast ocean from which we all originated.

G. D. Williams       © 2011

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