This Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. The Palm Sunday service has always been one of my favorites. It begins in a sort of celebratory way, with folks gathered outside the church and waving palms.
(This year was a bit different as some of us posted photos of palms decorating our front doors online.)
And, of course, it includes that powerful and dramatic reading of the Passion narrative. It has it all: light, darkness and hope.
What’s more, it is a beautiful picture of Christ’s humility: he rides on the back of a donkey (instead of stallion), he stoops to wash his disciples’ feet, he is handed over to the authorities, he is unjustly sentenced and he endures a horrible execution.
This all brings to mind our response to the events of Holy Week. How do we think about ourselves as part of the story? The Anglican priest and poet Malcolm Guite, wrote a beautiful sonnet that asks such a question. As we recount Jesus’s mighty acts of redemption this week, he invites each of us to ask, “Will I welcome him?”
Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus come
Break my resistance and make me your home.
As we go through the important events of Holy Week, let us not forget to invite Jesus “to come and break our resistance, and to make his home within our heart.”
The Rev. Alex D. Graham III
Associate for Children and Family Ministries