It might just be me, but there is something that I just love about Palm Sunday. I remember the excitement at church as we children were lined up and each given a perfectly shaped palm branch. Palm Sunday was an exciting Sunday in the life of a child growing up in our church. All the children would be paraded through the church waving our palm branches. I knew it was special, I just didn't know how special.
I suppose growing up in Florida the beauty of a palm tree can become commonplace; not for me. It is my favorite tree on the earth. I live in Dallas now where Palm trees do not grow naturally (although that doesn't stop people from trying to grow them here). Whenever I travel to a location where palm trees flourish, I feel a little sense of being home in some way. Places where palm trees grow are some of my favorite places in the world.
I don't think I realized it at the time, but this sense of awe for the palm tree has a deep spiritual connection to me. Honestly, as a little child I don't think I thought much about honoring God as I was walking around and through the church in a line of children waving my palm branch to smiling parishioners. It was more about fun. Of course the boys usually made weapons out of them and the teachers were constantly having to correct their behavior. The girls in general were not tempted by this behavior; we turned them into fans to keep us cool or to pretend we were princesses. No, the spiritual significance didn't hit me until much later.
The triumphant entry to Jerusalem is my favorite part of Passion Plays. This is the way it should be. Sure, a few things are out of place. For instance, Jesus is on a donkey, not a grand carriage pulled by royal horses. But the people’s response to Him, now that was what was right about it. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people laid down their coats for Him and His donkey to walk across. Then some of them tore down palm branches and laid them down.
What an exciting day. Don't you wish you could have been there? Wish no more. I've got exciting news for you. There will be a day when you can wave your palm branches before your King. And this time things will be exactly as they are supposed to be. Revelation 7:9-10:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.
We will get a chance to praise God the way we should, the way we remember each Palm Sunday. There will be a time when we can celebrate Palm Sunday for eternity. Even if you can't find a palm branch take some time to imagine a multitude praising God as you go through this day.