Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It was a dreary, rainy, chilly day, but inside the church there was warmth and excitement. Children processing with palm branches has a way of making folks smile. The organist and the choir outdid themselves! After the service lunch was served and the children had their annual egg hunt, in spite of the rain. Things are not always what they seem. Had the focus been on the weather, the mood would have been as dreary as it was, but we were focused on worship, the church family being together and the anticipation of Easter.
Last week I spent much time deep in thought--reading the Scripture and praying for direction. I thought about the humble beginnings of Jesus and the astounding fact that just weeks ago we focused upon a baby, knowing and proclaiming him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I focused on the rejection he suffered during his life, the unbelief of the people he came to save, the utter disregard as people thumbed their noses at God. What had happened to "I will be your God. You will be my people?" How could they have forgotten? Would I have forgotten? When Jesus made the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, if we didn't know the rest of the story, we would think that respect and honor for Jesus was beginning to change. But, this procession initiated the worst week of Jesus' life; the rejection increased, even to include some of his closest associates; and the week ended with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. How quickly the focus changes!
I wonder how I would have reacted if I had been one of the palm wavers, one of those shouting "Blessed be the king who comes in the name of the Lord." Would I have seen what was coming or would I have thought that Jesus was finally getting the honor he deserved? Hindsight informs me and I know how necessary the events of this week were, but knowing why Jesus had to suffer and why he died don't make the thoughts any more pleasant!
It's necessary to focus on Jesus--his identity, his character, his works. It's necessary to focus on ourselves--who we are without Jesus, our characters, our lives. Then, focus on the grace of God that took his perfect, sinless son and used that grace to transform us into children of God. It is truly amazing!