Easter is coming.
I have always had a love-hate relationship with Palm Sunday. It required great effort to get out the door to church today.
Perhaps I hate to be confronted with my humanity.
Palm Sunday is the day that sums up brutal humanity for me. Jesus comes in to Jerusalem on the donkey with her colt walking alongside. People are astonished at the miracles he has performed. Water to wine. Blind able to see. Out of control wild man, now dressed and in his right mind. Lazarus, his dear friend, dead, buried, but now walking around fully alive.
After years of oppression, these folks are ready for a savior. A savior who would come in on a stallion to defeat the Romans, restore justice and rights for the Jewish people. They are ready for a super-politico who will make their life easier. After seeing this man go around changing lives and making people whole, they just KNOW that everything is going to turn around.
Caught up in the moment, they welcomed Jesus with laud and adoration. But when he chose to come in on a donkey, did they get it? His was not the path of the conquering warrior.
A female donkey. With a colt alongside. No fancy saddle or chariot. Someone's old cloak.
The branches waved. Hosannas shouted. Caught up in the moment, everyone forgot his or her troubles and rejoiced.
About this time in the story I grow cynical. Irritated. I know how this story turns out. Within days, the same crowd is shouting out to crucify their hero. Not just throw him in jail.
So that is the part of Palm Sunday I hate.
Knowing that given the right circumstances I could be right there with those folks.
The part I love? I believe Jesus knew enough about humanity to know exactly how quickly those worshiping people would betray him. And yet he still received their honor. As weak and frail and fickle as they were. If I had known how quickly they would turn on me, I would have been spitting on them as I rode my donkey down the street! See what a mean person I am! If not spitting, at least glaring cynically at them.
These days I am feeling feeble and frail. Grieving many things. Oh, I had no idea how well acquainted with grief we would become. Still grieving Philip. Especially as we enter Holy Week. Grieving as I sell animals. Grieving as I try to learn my new identity as a single mom. Grieving as I see the beauty of our valley increase exponentially as the trees leaf out and the flowers bloom and the fields come alive. Sometimes my humanity, the ugly part, comes out in the form of a cross word to the kids when I would rather give them a tender hug.
And yet, the message of Palm Sunday to me is that Jesus knew all that about me from the very beginning. And still chose the path of the cross. He chose the humble way, the road on the back of the mama donkey, the way of peace, to make a way for me to have peace in the middle of my transition, grumpiness, fears and tears. Hosanna.
I wonder if the trees were so very brilliant in dusty Jerusalem on that spring day so long ago?
Maybe I don't hate Palm Sunday as much as I like to think.