Last year, Palm Sunday was very different for us. We processed into our church walking together as Cynthia carried Cara in her womb. I sat in the choir dreaming about how next year I'd get to sing the spiritual, "Ride on Jesus, Ride" to Cara. We dreamed of Cara waving palm branches and joining in the procession next year.
Even though we think that Cara was likely already gone on Palm Sunday last year, in many ways it was our last "innocent day" with Cara (I'm not sure if those kinds of days can ever exist anymore). Palm Sunday, and Holy Week for that matter, was marked with a sense of expectation and hope that Easter Sunday would surely bring. Then, Monday of Holy Week came and our world got flipped upside down. Instead of a week full of hopeful expectation, Holy Week was marked by painful, empty grief. Suddenly, Cynthia and I could relate to the pain and grief of Christ's journey towards the cross in ways I never would have imagined.
So we enter Holy Week with a deeper understanding of the emptiness of death and the promise of new life. We will join together with all those around the world that celebrate Holy Week shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" And, we'll also journey together with Christ as he embarks on a Messianic journey that goes through the darkest valley of death to bring us Resurrection.
From Iona Dawn...
In the events which will be unfolded in the coming week, the world and the disciples of Jesus alike will finally have revealed to them the answer to the crucial question of 'who he is'. This is no simple festal procession. The air is heavy with irony, contradiction, questioning.
Mark's gospel frequently summons disciples to attention. We are bid 'look, listen and see.' The Palm Sunday 'play' of profound seriousness calls us to a yet deeper level on attentiveness. In the imminent journey to and through Good Friday we will finally learn 'who he is,' and our understanding of God and ourselves will never be the same again.