Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday Pomp and Circumstance

This morning I went with a friend to the Palm Sunday service at the National Cathedral.  It was a fabulous, glorious display of pomp and circumstance.  Fitting for the victorious King of kings and Lord of lords.  And the service ended with one of my favorite hymns, “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”  The entire service I was profoundly struck with the idea that the Christian God is unique in that He encourages people to think about His account of Himself and humanity, of His offer of salvation, before accepting it as true.  He must therefore be unwaveringly sure of His deity and truth if He affords His creation the freedom to explore, question and think before accepting His claims.  I don’t yet know of any other god confident enough to encourage its creation to question its existence.  This is one reason why I find YHWH trustworthy, even when I have questions.  But back to Palm Sunday.  I love appropriately flashy displays of grandeur when the person, or God in this case, is fully deserving of such honor.  The melodies of the choir floated over our heads like ribbons of gold, the strains of the organ thundered in our chests, rich and exact, the 75 person strong processional marched forward with joyful palm branches – and all of this made me wish with all my heart that I could have been in Jerusalem the day Jesus entered the city on a humble donkey.  To just catch a glimpse of Him, to see Him smile and wave, to hear His voice in the timbre of a man, to lay my own palm branch down for Him to pass over.  But we ended with the hymn I mentioned above.  Today, as many of you know, marks the beginning of the week remembering Jesus’ passion.  I encourage you all to think about how extraordinary YHWH is, that His love for His creation rests so deep within His soul that He would not rest until He paved a way for all people to be reconciled with Him.  He did not give up.  And He will not force anyone to believe Him.  So kind and so good.  I pray that all of you may understand Easter this year with more clarity than ever before, and that you may experience freedom as a result of God’s rich love.

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.

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