John 12:13a – They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (NIV)
As I waited for my husband to come out of the drug mart, I noted the sign inside that read, "We have all you need for Easter!" Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and cards made up the displays in the store.
Sitting thinking about that statement printed on the sign brought to mind just how many have totally missed the point. It gave me a feeling of sadness to think of those who would rather flock to the store and buy symbols of what it is they think Easter is, than go to a church and understand that through the Scripture narratives we have all we need for Easter. As we read the events of Holy Week, the final days leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Saviour, we should try to feel the emotions that Jesus felt, not only better to appreciate all that He did for us, but to prepare us for the joy of Easter.
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. We follow Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, with the irony and pathos of the crowds that came out waving branches of the palm trees and calling out "Hosanna!" to His name. We go to the upper room to feel the sadness of the Passover celebration of the Lord's Supper. We pass with Christ into the garden called Gethsemane and agonize with Him in prayer. Then we hear the tragic cry from the people, "Crucify Him!" and Christ's cries of anguish from a cruel cross. The passion of it all grips us: the love of a faithful God who offered up His only Son so that we might have eternal life, free from all our sin, saved by the grace of God. Having experienced all that once again, only then are we ready to celebrate Easter in the knowledge that He has risen in victory. Only then do we have all we need for Easter.
My thoughts went back to the drug mart where they announced, "We have all you need for Easter." Because they don't know what Easter really is, we do need to witness to our brothers and sisters shopping for the Easter they cannot buy.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Help us to grasp that in the events of His life, and especially in His suffering and death in the events we remember in Holy Week, we have what we need to celebrate His resurrection at Easter. We pray especially for those who do not yet know what Easter really is. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.