Saturday, March 28, 2015
Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter are some of my favorite celebrations and remembrances of the year. Yesterday, I spent about an hour making crosses out of palm branches to give out on Sunday. As I sat there, I was able to spend some time thinking. One of the thoughts that crossed my mind was that I was glad we were giving out crosses and not the actual branch because our very active group of children would start running around and hitting each other with them.
However, as I reflected on the events of Palm Sunday, it occurred to me that children have been the same throughout the centuries. I'm fairly certain the children 2000 years ago may have been rambunctious too. The atmosphere was loud, noisy and celebratory. More than likely the children then were also running around, shouting and whacking each other with palm branches.
How often do we sanitize these stories? We make them solemn and full of religiosity. Yet, the story of Jesus time here on earth was messy. It wasn't pretty and solemn. It is the story of God coming down in the form of man and getting dirty.
He spent time with the "untouchables"; the lepers, the tax collectors, the fishermen, the prostitutes, and the sinners. He touched people who were thought to be unclean. He went where respectable people weren't supposed to go. He talked out in the open to those who were only whispered about.
The people who surrounded him were loud, obnoxious, common, and unclean. They traipsed through grain fields, eating from the stalks on the Sabbath. They crashed private parties to wash his feet. They touched his robes when they should have stayed in the background. They shouted "hosanna" not realizing that their enthusiasm was sealing his fate.
Yet, we often celebrate these events in quietness and with much ritual. We go through the motions every spring. There must be palm branches which get brought home and discarded after a few weeks. There must be certain songs we sing, only to be put back on the shelf until next Easter. There must be certain decorations or it doesn't feel like Easter.
These activities we keep so religiously do nothing but sanitize the Savior. Let's remember the One who came, died and rose again in a way that truly brings honor to Him. We do that by actually living out His words on a daily basis. Celebrating by doing certain activities is fine as long as we remember His sacrifice the rest of the year too.
Jesus life was messy and involved reaching out to the unlovely, the unclean and the untouchable. Because He lives we all can face tomorrow.