Palm Sunday: Today I Cried

Today is the only day of our lives that matters.  Here.  Now.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll get another.  Maybe not.  But today is special, for it is now.  Just as is this breath.

The Wuhan virus drives home the point.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.

But today has another significance all its own.  For today is the celebration Christians call Palm Sunday, remembering that day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

People cheered as they lay palms down before him as he passed.  For the Son of Man was coming to the holiest city on Earth, where worlds collided in search of whatever it was they sought.

As I was re-reading the story, I cried.

The words triggered memories of walking beside Him as He rode.  We all knew it was a risk, a risk he freely took as written by the prophets before.

Sure, most of the people loved him.  But the powers that be, on all sides, didn’t.  They hated his popularity, his influence, and especially his connection to the Creator that the religious leaders of the day professed to represent but didn’t.

So that day, my friend, my brother, my Lord, met eyes with mine and said, “The time is now.  It has begun.”  A nervous smile crossed his lips, knowing what lay ahead that he — and we all — soon had to face.

The cheering crowd led us on, some running ahead to shout word of His coming. 

Those of us “in the know” weren’t as happy.  Fear crowded out the joy as our sandaled feet stumbled over the palm fronds that littered the way.  Yet onward we went, he unsteadily clinging to the back of the beast, doing his best to hold on lest he fall and disappoint the adoring masses.

And me, doing my best to stand by him, to protect him, to let him know he was among friends who would stand by him in the darkness to come.

As it turns out, we didn’t.  I ran away in fear when my moment of truth came.  Though I wanted to fight, he told me to run, to hide, to tell the others.  I’ve borne that burden life after life throughout the centuries since.

Even Peter denied him.  The largest of the disciples, he was to have been the rock upon which Jeshua’s church was built.  But at that moment of need, Peter was no more than a pebble, hiding among faceless grains of sand.

But those were part of our roles, played out to a tee just as Jeshua was playing his unto his death, rising and ascension.

Today, I remembered.  And I cried, not just for him, but for all of mankind that has failed to learn the lessons of love for which he — and we all — gave our lives.

For so long we worked to teach people how to love, but though we did our best, it wasn’t enough.  People still hate each other. People still act for their own benefit to the detriment of others.  People still don’t acknowledge the God that created them, that gave them life and that calls them to make their journey home.

Today those words fall on too many deaf ears, even as humanity faces a crisis that threatens so many, including the destruction of this civilization our ancestors built.  

Maybe one day we’ll learn to love each other.  God knows I’ve tried to show others the way. 

God knows I’ve failed, too.  I wasn’t up to the task then.  I’m not up to it today, though I continue to try.

But maybe you won’t fail.  I sure hope you’ll do your part to make all our efforts worthwhile.  Especially His.

In the end, it’s all that really matters anyway.

God bless you indeed.

John Dennison
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