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Lenten meditations, Palm Sunday, April 13

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As we enter the sixth and final week of Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written ‘letters from the heart.’ Each is accompanied by corresponding relevant scripture verse(s), and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, submit your ‘letter from the heart’ by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us complete our 2012 Lenten journey of repentance, meditation, and anticipation through the final days, to the joyous resurrection on Easter morning.

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Today’s scripture reading is from the Gospel of Mark 11:1-11.

On Palm Sunday we recognize the hope of the Jews for momentous life-changing events. The joyous entry of Jesus and His followers into Jerusalem for the Passover sets high an expectation for a happy, life-changing event to come, which for the Jews was the much hoped for liberation from Roman rule. On Palm Sunday at Trinity we observe the events in the life of Jesus during the whole week we call Holy Week. God shows us through Jesus’ actions during Holy Week how to accept and live with the life-changing experiences that are not our preordained desire for our life.

A life-changing experience for me was the birth of my first child. It was life-changing in unanticipated ways that I worked through for many years. I know that I was not always willing and accepting of God’s will for me and for my child. It was only when I stopped trying to impose my will and let God control the outcome that I received peace.

Jesus’ sending His disciples for a donkey to ride foreshadows the realization that Jesus can see places and events that we cannot. We know in retrospect that this triumphal entry described in such detail was not about establishing an earthly kingdom, and Jesus knew this. I believe His followers loved and admired Him, but in human-like behavior they disappeared when the going got tough. If something similar to this happens to us, we are not to let it cause us additional grief. God is always with us. This week is all downhill from Palm Sunday.

Celebrating a happy event with all of our heart, even when we know that all will not end well, is what we are called to do. Life is good and holy even when we know it is terminal at a time that is unknown to us. We want to feel we are in charge of our lives, but it is only through the Lord that we are able to sustain ourselves through the most distressing events we experience. God’s grace will be with us and He will hold us in His hand.

Today is a day to be joyous. Happy expectations will be met, but maybe not today.

Fran Gibbes

St. Martin’s in the Fields, Charter Member

Columbia, South Carolina

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If you enjoyed this Lenten meditation, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.

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