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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Will You Wave Palm Branches?

The church I attended as a child had a Palm Sunday tradition where the congregation would leave the building just before the sermon and walk a short distance into the village waving palm branches. It was something I looked forward to. Why? I'm not sure. I knew the significance of what we were doing. My mother had read it to me, and I'd heard it in church. We were reenacting what took place when Our Lord rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on that first Palm Sunday, and I guessed I liked making believe that I was a part of that parade.

But even as a child, I knew that something awful happened after Palm Sunday. The same people who waved palm branches at Jesus Christ and spread their clothes for Him to ride on were the same people who cried out, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" days later. How could that be? Sadly, we have only to look at our own fickle selves. Today we sing and dance and clap our hands in fervent worship and praise, but tomorrow when temptation and hardship and pain come we quickly forget what He did for us 

Oh, we do not cry out "Crucify Him!" as the Jews did, but every time we give in to sin and temptation, murmuring and complaining we crucify Him, because it was our sin that put Him on the cross.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healedAll we like sheep have gone astray ; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53 : 5 - 6).

Today, as we celebrate Palm Sunday, let us make it last. Let us continue to worship and praise Him even when Holy Week is over. Let us praise Him when the bills are not paid, or our children are acting crazy or a layoff appears imminent.  Let us say like Job did, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him" (13 : 15).
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