Sunday, March 24, 2013


I am going to bring a little palm cross to work.  The cross was made by one of the many favorite teens from Grace Church with a palm from our Palm Sunday service.  I will put it up discretely so the clients who come into the center won't be confronted with it... but I am planning to put it where I can see it.

I love Palm Sunday.  I love all of Holy Week, actually.  The entire journey from Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed colt to Easter Sunday, complete with fancy dresses and decorated hats.  What goes on between those two moments is grueling, gripping, painful and incredible.  It is a week of coming face to face with sin.  It is a week when I have to acknowledge that I am one of those who waves palms joyfully one minute and then cries ''Crucify Him" to Pilate in the next.  Because it IS our sin that nails him to the cross.

I know that some of my evangelical friends are uncomfortable with the intensity around Holy Week.  Is it idolatry to put palms on your wall?  Is it really necessary to relive every moment of the crucifixion every year, sitting in a somber and quiet church reflecting on the 7 last things Christ said from the cross for 3 solid hours?  Or creeping towards a wooden crucifix and kissing the feet of him who is represented there?

For me, there is no controversy or conflict.  These rituals came from a church that did not yet have ready access to scripture for the masses.  These rituals were a way for everyday folks to physically, mentally and spiritually engage with the story long before Gutenberg invented his press.  And even now, for someone with no less than 6 copies of scripture in 4 translations, the physical act of standing and waving palms, or of kissing the feet of a crucifix gives the story an immediacy that just reading could not.  Those wooden feet are not HIS.  But these lips are mine....  And we are whole beings.  The physical is part of our faith.

So, the cross is going up.  The rest of the palms will be tucked somewhere in my home, to dry and wilt until I bring them to church to be burned for next year's Ash Wednesday service.  And I will pray that Christ will use this Holy Week to draw me closer to him.  And to glorify himself in the process.

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