It’s Sunday again – and not just any Sunday, it’s Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday has always been special to me, particularly as a child because we literally carried palm branches down the aisles of the church, waving them wildly in a grand procession to the front of the church where we laid them, maybe on an altar or at the foot of a cross, I don’t really remember that part. But I do remember the novelty of the palm branches. I don’t think I’d ever seen a palm branch otherwise.
So I confess that on this gray morning, as I set out on my solitary morning walk, I found myself wondering if it was really Palm Sunday at all, because it didn’t feel or look like any Palm Sunday I had ever known. I hadn’t gotten very far at all when I realized someone must have flipped a switch as I slept last night, because this was a different world than the one I walked in just yesterday.
The sky was gray but the grass had turned a deep green everywhere I looked. Trees were budding all around me and flowering pear trees had blossomed overnight, a beautiful, white lacy look – perfect for a special day like today. Other trees were budding deep red, in complete contrast to the white blooms. The forsythia was everywhere, blooming bright yellow against the emerging greenery surrounding it.
Creation knew it was Palm Sunday! Time to praise the Creator of heaven and of earth! COVID-19 has no dominion here, I thought, no power to silence. I thought of what Jesus said to the Pharisees on that first Palm Sunday, when they asked Him to silence the crowds that were cheering Him and praising God as He made His way into Jerusalem.
” ‘I tell you,’ He replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’ ” (Luke 19:40)
That’s true, I thought, as I continued my walk and ran into (almost literally) the biggest, most magnificent magnolia bush I have ever seen, full of purple blossoms exploding everywhere, from top to bottom and all around. No way to silence this breathtaking beauty, over ten feet tall and quite wide, she will not be missed. Each and everyone of her deep purple flower blossoms is shouting praise to and showing off the glory of her Creator for all to see and be made glad at the sight!
God is still on His throne. COVID-19 is not in charge and has not won. Everywhere I looked this truth was inescapable. But God was not done blessing me beyond measure yet! As I continued on my regular route, I came upon a child’s chalk art. It was at the end of the driveway so it wouldn’t be missed, but not on the sidewalk where it would be walked over and therefore fade faster.
There I saw a very large chalk heart with the words “have a great day” written on the inside of it. Next to that were the words “this is hope” with an arrow pointing to a large chalk cross. No more words were necessary – the cross said it all! The cross, the universal symbol of hope for humankind.
Hope is what everyone is seeking more than ever right now because of the COVID-19 crisis. Hope, more desirable than even toilet paper, is what is needed to see us through this time. The absence of hope will prove more deadly than the corona virus ever could be. This chalk artist knew the value of holding out hope to a hurting world and made her/his contribution to that cause.
Thank you anonymous chalk artist! You were joining in with all creation this morning in making the ultimate confession, the one thing we all need to confess!
“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
let that be my confession today and everyday . . .
sincerely, Grace Day