By Kelly Carr
When someone talks about palm trees, my mind immediately goes to my dream vacation: a sunny beach with soft sand, an ocean breeze, and the bluest water I’ve ever laid eyes on. Ah, yes, those palm trees are just waiting for me to come sit beneath them and relax.
What I don’t usually picture when I hear “palm trees” is a group of people living in abject poverty, waving palm branches toward an itinerant preacher whom they hope will lead a revolution to free them from oppression. Yet that’s exactly what occurred on Palm Sunday.
And while we remember each year how Jesus approached the people and Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, I want to consider for a few minutes how we approach him.
Approaching with Honor & Excitement
During Jesus’ triumphal entry down the Mount of Olives, there was a celebration going on. Those waving palm branches approached Jesus with excitement. They waved the branches to denote his leadership, and they did so with honor.
Maybe when you consider the “proper” way to worship Jesus, you visualize quietness and reverence. As well you should. But I hope you also allow yourself exuberance. When we consider all that God has done from the moment creation began until today, enthusiasm is called for!
Consider some ways that you can approach Jesus with both honor and excitement as we draw near to Resurrection Sunday.
Approaching with Humility & Solemnity
Yet as we remember the cross this Good Friday, we approach Jesus with reverence. Just as the first disciples mourned for the loss of their rabbi, so too we weep over the torture Jesus experienced on our behalf.
We are saddened but also humbled that our sin caused death. When we recognize our culpability in Christ’s punishment, we should bow low and be solemn before the sinless Savior.
How will you approach Jesus’ death with both humility and solemnity?
Approaching with Remembrance & Fellowship
And each time we gather at the table as a body of believers to eat and drink of the Lord’s Supper together, we approach Jesus even differently.
First we approach in remembrance. Jesus told his disciples to remember him when they partook. And so do we. We remember the humility and solemnity at the foot of the cross. We remember the honor we should give and the excitement we can feel that our sins are washed clean.
We can also approach in fellowship. Although that might be different than what we typically think of when the communion cups are held in hand, consider the first Lord’s Supper at Passover. The disciples gathered for a meal with Jesus. There was talking and sharing. There was fellowship as they broke bread around the table together. So too we gather together when we share the Lord’s Supper. Whether we walk forward to get the bread or we pass a tray to drink the cup, we do so as one body of believers with one purpose in mind. We share this time together.
This week and every week, how will you both remember and fellowship as you approach Jesus with your brothers and sisters in Christ?