Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up.
This Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, also known as Palm Sunday.
It’s a little quirky that we should call it Palm Sunday, though. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke) don’t bother calling the trees, “palms,” but John does:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him.
It’s not that there’s something special about palm trees. They’re just trees. Sure, if you live in Southern Appalachia, they’re a novelty, but they’re just another type of tree in the Middle East. It’s a harsh landscape, and it takes a tough kind of organism to survive there.
Palms of sorts have done just fine in Israel for a long time. What makes them stand out, apart from their height, is the particular shape of their compound leaves. They sway and wave in a dramatic fashion that other tree boughs don’t necessarily do.
It’s as though they’re built to dance.
It’s no wonder that those are the boughs that the people grabbed. They were available and appropriate for the task at hand.
Today, we celebrate Palm Sunday with palms because it’s tradition. You’re supposed to use palms. It’s the way we’ve always done it. And this year’s palms, ideally, become next year’s ashes.
But they wouldn’t have been palms had the story happened in Australia. They wouldn’t have been palms had the story happened in Alaska. They wouldn’t have been palms had the story happened in Appalachia.
The people used what they had on hand. They used what made sense. Their coats, branches from nearby trees, grasses cut in the fields, whatever worked was what they used.
This wasn’t a grandiose, extravagant parade. It was a parade made up of the things at hand. It was a pauper’s parade.
Sometimes we need to remember that, at its essence, in its own world, our story’s content isn’t nearly as extravagant or complicated as we make it.
Our stories are born of the common things from the world around them. They are written with the language of the people of their own time.
Maybe it’s time to use our own language to speak to a people where they come from. Maybe that would cause us to listen a little better, and to get to know the world around us.
Maybe Jesus will have a new word to say to us, too.
Feed the Hungry Offering
Our “Feed the Hungry” Offering
this week is for
Local School Missions.
This fund helps
families in need within
the Bristol School System.
Special Easter Offering
FUMC will be collecting a special offering
on Easter Sunday toward the Help for Haiti children’s shelter overseen by FUMC
member Leferne Preptit. Though the
mission continues to have a strong
foundation of regular monthly donors,
we still need additional offerings in order
to be able to meet our budget each year
to provide housing, food and education for
nine children whose families were affected
by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Please
consider donating on Easter to support one of our church’s most vital missions.
Bethchina size pant 10 / T- shirts 8 medium in junior girls section, shoe #9
Jenny size pant 5/6, T shirts, dress junior/small, shoe #7-1/2
Jeffreyna size 8/9 pant, medium T- shirts 6 small in girl section, shoe #6
This year Holston Conference is excited to offer summer camp for children and youth, Grades 1 – 12, at Camp Bays Mountain.
Camp Director Jeff Wadley says, “The outdoor setting, camp activities and summer counselors are avenues for our campers to be introduced to Christ and to grow in faith. Our theme this summer is Here I Am! in which we will study God’s presence in our lives.This is the heartbeat of our camp curriculum.”