This Sunday is Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of Holy Week, so it is kind of a big deal. We celebrate Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and mimic the crowd as they waved palm branched and shouted Hosanna!
I am familiar with the story, I have heard it many times through the years. As a preacher, I try to make each Sunday exciting and educational for the congregation, so what do I do?
What I always do. Not what I always say, but the way I always act, a little different. The lectionary text this week is Matthew 21:1-11. This particular passage of Jesus's entry of course has him procuring two equines, a colt and a donkey. So Is Steve going to look at this version of Jesus riding roman style?(two horses). Is that the outside the box twist for this entry? Nope! I'm going to let that one slide.
Instead I will focus on the palms. It does say that the crowd cut branches and lay them on the road, (with their cloaks-that is a good way to ruin a good Sunday cloak.) It does not say they were all palm branches. To be honest, maybe the waving of the palms has nothing to do with palm trees and everything to do with human anatomy. The people waved their hands at Jesus.
So what? How is this thinking outside the box? Please, how many of you have really put this together? The main point of this is that then crowds, the people, the hands are now a bigger part of the Holy Week experience. They (we) are now a separate character, right up there with Pilate, Judas and the Pharisees. We are the palms in Palm Sunday.
How often do we wave our hands in the air during worship and call out to be saved,(Hosanna!) In the United Methodist Church- rarely. We have an aversion to raising our hands. I have been a basketball referee during my past, so I would help with my churches Upward Basketball. There is not a three point shot in Upward, (most kids can't even throw up a decent free throw.) One of the adults I was training to help referee asked why no threes. I replied that we are playing in the Christian Life Center of a Methodist Church, and we don't raise our hands for anything here.
But we do! Even in very conservative worship styles we all cry out to god with arms raised. We all wave and shout. We are all the palms that wave at Jesus, this is our Sunday!