Palm Sunday

24 Mar

When I was a child I think that Palm Sunday had to be one of my favorite days. We would dress up special because when we arrived at church, every child was given a palm frond to wave and was ushered into a line that became a grand procession up to the front of the church. I had little understanding of what it all meant, but it was fun to wave the frond and feel like I was part of the service, even if for only a few minutes at the start of things.

The congregation would sing as we walked. Looking back I wonder now what the hymn was that sounded so magnificent. I haven’t been to that church in years, and in adulthood I haven’t attended a church that had the same pomp and ceremony for Palm Sunday. Which seems something of a shame. I think it’s more of a Catholic tradition that my ELCA Lutheran church had held onto. Maybe someone reading this here could post in the comments in regards to other Palm Sunday traditions in other churches.

Of course Palm Sunday never ended peacefully, the fronds being used to good effect for my sister and I to beat each other with during the remainder of the service until red-faced my mother would confiscate the weapons of mass destruction and that would be the end of them. Eventually we would be relegated to positions on either side of mom and dad, the bulk of BOTH parents between us to keep us “good.” If we did it right, most of the service would be over by then anyway.

I think any religious significance might have been lost on both of us.

Today I find myself thinking more of the meaning. That Palm Sunday wasn’t just a day that ushered in spring (as it did – my mother would dress us in our Easter best for the sake of the procession and thereby gaining more wear out of over-ruffled skirts that had no earthly use the rest of the year) but the beginning of something of something else. Of a journey more deep and meaningful that impacts our lives as Christians. Without Palm Sunday there can be no Holy Week, no Easter Sunday. No resurrection. No hope for the world that comes after.

I hated that today I missed it.

This last year I’ve a sporadic relationship with the church – meaning that I attend very little, mostly as pain allows. The effort of rising and dressing and driving and herding children is more than I can handle, and with a husband at work Sunday mornings, all of that falls upon me.

So how do you begin this journey when traveling it alone, at home. A shut in that’s not really a shut in, because there are times, random sporadic times when I DO get out.

The journey then becomes my own. One of reading and praying in solitude. One of gentle reminders to the children of what this time of year means. One that lacks the fellowship of the Christian community but at least holds that measure of fellowship to be gained within my own four walls.

I wish I had palm fronds and processions to illustrate to them Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

I will settle for the quieter entry of Him into my heart.


One Response to “Palm Sunday”

  1. knittingkat March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Hugs! I hate when we miss going! We missed Palm Sunday this year too. My 6 year old had a bad headache so quiet and rest were a lot more important this week.

    I remember being a Sunday school teacher having to help with the procession through the church. I always wondered why the children’s director would have the palm fronds were handed out well before the march through the church. All of the kids would try to smack each other, and there were not enough adults to stop all of the mischief. Such fond memories!

    You continue to be in my prayers!

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