Palm Sunday Like Never Before

April 05, 2020
Ally Clapp, Office of Mission and Ministry

Easter is only a few days away. And it might not feel like it.

I know for me it feels strange. Partly because it’s become a bit difficult to keep track of the calendar but more because for all my life I’ve known Palm Sunday and experienced its deep meaning with the help of certain markers; The faint scent of something fresh and cool when you enter the church filled with palms, the chance to sit during the Gospel to take in the extra-long, extra-important readings, the rhythm of quietly folding and tearing fronds to create crosses.

This is not what I expected. A Palm Sunday in the middle of a pandemic. I feel unsettled and unprepared. Even so, the Savior arrives clip-clopping into town on the back of a donkey. Jesus enters Jerusalem, enters into his Passion, and enters the mess. The people of Jerusalem were “shaken.” Maybe this entrance is not what anyone expected. Perhaps Jesus felt some of the same uncertainty, confusion, worry, or fear as he rode into the city.

There is hope knowing that the extra-long, extra-important story we hear today and throughout this Holy Week–the retelling of Jesus’ last meal, betrayal, and excruciating public execution– isn’t where things end. There is also hope in the way things unfold. In his time of trial Jesus finds strength breaking bread, washing feet, spending time in prayer, and trusting in God. I am reminded that Jesus knows what it is like to be human, even to endure great suffering. He is with us.

Today I’ll enter Holy Week with a crunchy, year-old palm cross, some feelings of uncertainty, and a prayer to open my heart this monumental and transformative story of Love. God is with us.