Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Easter Sunday has always been my favorite day in the entire church calendar. For me, the Resurrection is the most important part of Jesus’ time on earth. I love the music at Christmas, but children are born every day. The Crucifixion is a bloody, horrific wrongful execution; this happens far too often in our current world. However, to happen upon the tomb and see the stone rolled away, then encounter Christ in the flesh? Jesus’ life fulfilled promised made in the Old Testament. So did His death. Were that the end of the story, we might not be talking about Him as much. Yes, the miracles were incredible. Alone, they might warrant a movie or two, maybe a comic book series. For Jesus to accept death on the cross, He was saying, “I’m not fooling around; I really love you.” To appear three days later, Christ was saying, “Everything I said was the truth. Now do you see?”
I was baptized on Palm Sunday. I was sponsored by my maternal grandparents. Each year on Palm Sunday, children would march through the church sanctuary, waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!” The church choir would perform a service-long cantata, singing us through to the Resurrection. My grandmother would give me a card and a small gift. It wasn’t like an additional birthday or a delayed extension of Christmas. She called it my “special day”. As I grew up and went to Sunday School, received my first Communion, and completed Confirmation, I came closer to understanding what it really meant to be baptized in the living waters of Christ. My grandparents even drove the 245 miles to attend my Confirmation service.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of the final stretch in our journey to the cross. Jesus the Christ, Lord and Master, the Word, the Son of God, the Lamb who is to be slain is carried atop a small horse into the city in His Triumphal Entry. He is surrounded by the disciples who are in the throes of uncontrollable praises to God.
Life has twists and turns and sharp bends in the road. After several years of suffering in agony, my grandmother died from colon cancer. I was in high school at the time. That was the end of my “special day”. Nevertheless, the celebration continues. Knowing full well the atrocity that is to come, we still descend down the path from the Mount of Olives and shout, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Fun fact #1: When my own son was baptized, he was dressed in the very same gown I had worn so many years ago.
Fun fact #2: Yes, I did paint the symbols from Led Zeppelin’s fourth album on confirmation stole.
-----written by Janson Steffan