Last week while out for a walk with my mum we walked a past a Macrocarpa tree. Although you may not recognise the name, you’ll certainly recognise this sweet smelling conifer. Now, my mum is a New Zealander and she told me that when she was growing up they used these conifer branches on Palm Sunday instead of palms themselves.
This got me thinking.
On Palm Sunday the church remembers Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Those present waved palm branches like banners to greet him, like a warrior returning from battle. And why did they use palm branches? Well, because they were to hand.
Some of the crowd also laid down their coats in front of Jesus. They literally took the coats off their backs and laid them in Jesus’ path. And why did they use their coats? Because they were to hand.
Palms aren’t a usual tree to be found in Essex, except if you’re walking along Southend’s Seafront where they’ve been planted to give abit of a holiday vibe! But despite this, most churches celebrate Palm Sunday by handing out palm crosses or branches to their congregation. It’s a traditional thing to do and that’s great.
But Jesus doesn’t ask us to wave palm leaves– it’s fun to do but isn’t required.
Now the crowds cheering Jesus were NOISY! And when they were asked to be quiet Jesus says,
‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’
I know, it’s a strange phrase- stones crying out.
I think what this is saying is that God will use whatever is found in each situation to draw us to him.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to wave palms but to take what we’ve found on the roadside of life and offer it up. That’s our skills, our time, our affection.
I’m challenged this week because I often think that those things as belonging to me but forget that in the same way that God created those palms on the side of the road, he has also gifted me the resources at my disposal.
What are you doing this Holy Week? If you are working all week how are you staying connected to the story? I’d love to hear. Please comment below.