Palm Sunday Reflections

The Palm Sunday display on the poet’s fireplace mantel invites childlike curiosity

The crowds lined the cobblestone streets that day
as a solitary figure emerged on a beast of burden.
There were exuberant cheers!
Smiling spectators waved palm branches in his direction
and shouted “Hosanna!”

Children sang a simple synagogue song.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Parents paved the path in front of where they stood
carpeting it with their outer garments
as the grand parade marshal approached.
What a day it must have been!

Within my mind’s eye
I see Jesus seated on that burro.
He is smiling.
I catch his glance.
His looks my way and his loving eyes speak.
They seem to say…

“You matter to me!
This parade appears to be for me,
but it actually is for you.
This procession punctuated by praise
will culminate in a post-parade party at which time
my critics will call for my death.
The painful conclusion to this joyful scene
will make possible the meaningful life I pictured for you
even before you were born.”

His eloquent eyes speak volumes.
But if that were not enough,
I see his arm reach through the crowd in my direction.
His calloused hand betrays his years as a carpenter.
He opens his palm and gently touches my suntanned cheek.
It is at once warm and cool.
A tear falls from my eye and trickles to his hand.
His hand remains unmoved.

He smiles.
I smile back bashfully.
My trembling hand reaches up to touch his hand.
My palm against his palm.
I feel my heartbeat pulsating in my hand.
It is a holy moment.

Two hands touching.
A sacred bond of sorts.
With no words being shared
I am convinced that I am loved by Jesus.

The Master’s Palm Sunday

Amen Corner at Augusta National Golf Course

There’s no green jacket
for this Master’s Sunday.
But there are green palm branches
waved by those in the gallery
who excitedly realize
the significance of what they are part of.

In “Amen Corner”
the tulips and azaleas trumpet their praise
as creation recognizes the glory of this holy moment.
It is a thing of beauty to behold.

The Champion joyfully acknowledges their cheers
as he drinks in the adulation of those
who line the fairways
that lead to the final flag.

It’s a surreal scene.
A sacred snapshot.
Men and women.
Old and young.
Followers and critics alike.
They all watch the drama
playing out before them in newsreel-like fashion.

But this victory procession
doesn’t lead to Butler Cabin at Augusta National.
Rather, it serpentines through
the cobblestone streets
of an ancient city.

The spontaneous parade
ends at an impressive Clubhouse
where (ironically) today’s Master
conferred with the local professionals
comparing scorecards decades previously
when he was but a boy of twelve.

But now is years removed
from his bar mitzvah.
The Scriptures read that day
have been fulfilled this day.
And yet,
all is not what you might imagine.

Vendors tables topple.
Angry words are spoken.
The rules committee is confronted
by the One signing autographs.
The Hero departs.
The crowds disband.

As the parade ends
a week begins
that will culminate
in what appears to be a tragedy.
This Master’s celebration
morphs to sorrow.
This Master’s glory portends more.