Palm Sunday - Pauses for Lent


Mark 11:1-11
Palm Sunday: today marks the beginning of the biggest week of the year in Christiandom. It certainly is an exciting time when you reflect on all the events that transpired in Christian history this week - the triumphal entry, the last Supper, the prayer and betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, the questioning, the beating, the crucifixion and finally, the resurrection. Anticipating the many points of pain and agony this week must have been difficult for Jesus. As trying as so many other moments must have been this week for Jesus, the moment in Mark 11 when Jesus mounts the donkey is the standout moment of the week to me. 
This is the moment when Jesus, foreseeing all of the coming events and their accompanying emotions and sensations - physical pain, emotional pain, loss of dignity and so on, made a choice, the most important choice of his life. This is when he made the choice to fully become who he was and to do what he knew was the culmination of everything God had called him to do. Some may call this the triumphal entry because Jesus entered Jerusalem as a victor over death and sin. I consider Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday a triumphal entry because it solidified that Jesus was victorious over himself, over the weaknesses that we all encounter by way of being flesh and blood. And this moment marked the point at which his mind was set and nothing would hold him back from accomplishing his mission. 
Jesus’ service was not conditional. He would be truly who he was and carry out his calling unconditionally. Whether born in a manger or a mansion, growing up with a father who was royalty or who was a carpenter, riding a colt or in a chariot, entering to disparaging shouts or praises, it didn’t matter. He knew who he was and he knew what he was called to do. And, yes, he asked God for relief in some moments of intense pain, as we all would, but at this moment when he mounted the colt, he made up his mind and he made his triumphal entry into perhaps the most challenging week anyone has ever endured, a week that would change all of our lives forever. May we all experience such a decisive defining moment this Lenten season that we too may be set firmly about our identity and our mission.
Latoya Redd-Thompson, Conference Lay Leader

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