A Covid19 Palm Sunday

We live in this extraordinary moment of history as a deadly Coronavirus rages around the earth. Palm Sunday Parades and children waving branches seem out of place in the world of Covid19. I’ve had to recognize again Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, was its own extraordinary moment . . . A moment that would define his life, his death and ultimately his resurrection.

From the very beginning of Palm Sunday’s journey, with crowds shouting “Hosanna . . . blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” ( Matthew 21:9) through tears Jesus sheds over Jerusalem, crying out, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:42) this extraordinary moment continues.

Only once will Jesus enter Jerusalem to shouts of Hosanna. Only this one time will he ride a ceremonial colt into the city with its message of peace, on a day heavy with both apprehension and promise. For a moment, the possibility that hearts and souls in Jerusalem could change existed. Love could alter hearts. There was this wild hope Jerusalem’s inhabitants would join together as people of justice, mercy and love.

We have choices to make in our fractured world. Will we allow this time in history to become one of working together to overcome a common enemy? Will it be a place of unity where we rally together for justice and mercy? Or will we allow our divisions to divide us ever more?  Will prejudice or compassion prevail?

Will history judge us as people who rose to the challenge? Will we be remembered for looking past all differences of race, creed, identity, immigration status and political affiliation, unified in seeking the wellbeing of all? Will we recognize every person made in the image of God is of inestimable value? Will we live like Jesus, who came to us in love and vulnerability, riding a colt into Jerusalem?

Answers have yet to be written. But, for today we celebrate Palm Sunday even knowing it will lead to Thursday’s betrayal and Good Friday’s cross. We celebrate it anyway, needing  to call to mind, there was this time in human history . . . God came in human form, suffered for our foolishness and died on our behalf. This is the day to give God the glory, to sing our praises, raise our voices and give thanks that God in Jesus Christ is among us still.