-Rev Melissa Fain-
8 Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. 9 Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. After he looked around at everything, because it was already late in the evening, he returned to Bethany with the Twelve.
Mark 11:8-11 CEB
Don't play with fire, you will get yourself burned. Don't see those who are freezing and attempt to carry the flame to them. You don't have the means to get it to them before air destroys the heat. If you walk away with a piece of that fire, we won't help you. You could choose to burn the world down with that flame. You could burn others with it's coals. Just keep the fire in this safe location. We just want to help you.
I am struggling. I'm not going to pretend I'm not. I'd wager to guess many of y'all are too. This Sunday is Palm Sunday. I realize, it's the best Palm Sunday I've ever lived through, and that adds to the struggle.
See, we've spent decades treating Palm Sunday like a mini-Easter. We wave palm fronds. We let the choir sing a song from their upcoming Cantata. We talk about our Easter luncheon plans. Only this year the duality of it all has hit home. We are singing Hosanna, while crying save us!
The duality of Palm Sunday
It's time for me to confess.
Every Easter is a day of mourning for me.
As Christians, we go to where we think we'll find Jesus on Easter. Where is Christ real? That answer has never been Fig Tree. Easter has always been the one Sunday where I get to see the reality of my work, and every year it's a reminder that my work remains unfinished. That's because, while most congregations are seeing their highest attendance on Easter- Fig Tree always sees her lowest.
Over the years, it has allowed me to see the realities of that day in a way I haven't previously seen. The Disciples were not joyous when that sun rose on Sunday morning. Mary wasn't preparing to see a risen Savior. The tomb was not going to be empty in her mind. What a difference a week makes.
Palm Sunday was the crescendo to decades of pain and loss. It was the rising action to God's symphony. It was a confused moment. Hosanna both means "Praise him," and "save us." They were screaming it. Throwing down their coats and leaves. Wanting Jesus to come like a warrior God to smite the enemies. Not prepared for what Jesus was going to do. Still, they screamed for a type of salvation they didn't need, and God wasn't going to give.
The beginning of the darkest week in the Christian calendar is started with an explosion of light. Like how a light bulb goes out. All the light explodes, and then extinguishes. Palm Sunday is our last cry before God gives us what we need, instead of what we want.
That's why this Easter feels more like Palm Sunday to me. We are all seeking what we want, when God is about to give us what we need. We don't need the bright lights and gaudy signs. We don't need the choirs and bands. We'll do it because those fortissimo actions are crying out "Save us," when we think we're singing, "Praise you."
I promised confession, so let me continue: I want something for my kids. That's part of what makes Easter so difficult. I want them to connect with people their age in a good Christian environment. So the mourning I feel on Easter is doubled by the guilt I feel for my kids. That's what I'll be taking to the tomb starting Palm Sunday. Total, honest truth. An Easter Egg Hunt. A pot luck. An outside worship. That's my way of singing, "Hosanna."