Thursday, March 24, 2016

Palm Fronds In Paris, Bombings in Brussels

Some things are constant around the world.

Like daring, precocious little boys.

Like palm fronds on the Sunday before Easter..

I discovered this on a trip to Paris with my daughter years ago, chaperoning her high school choir's tour of France and Switzerland. Among many venues, the choir was scheduled to sing at Englis - Saint Augustin church in Paris.

As soon as we arrived, a group of French 'boy scouts' converged at the door. Rambunctious and rowdy, they wrestled on the 150 year-old steps of this 19th century church. My four boys had stayed home with my husband in the States.  The sight of this was so comforting. Boys are wild the world over, not just in my family.

The boys tumbled into the church and went straight for the candles. I couldn't believe my eyes. They didn't just dip their fingers in the melted wax, they poured the hot liquid over their bare hands, squealing in painful delight. The more pain, the better. I felt my parenting vindicated as I watched these European youths at church. Despite their boisterous beginning, they managed to settle down and behave quite well during the very long service.

As the church filled up, attendees were handed not palm fronds, but bush twigs for the Palm Sunday celebration commemorating Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. I was surprised there were no palm leaves. But, of course!  This is Paris in March, not California or Florida where I've lived. Shrub sprigs will have to do! I saved one all these years, it struck me so.

But the palm fronds and shrubs sprigs are not the point. It was Jesus' royal procession into Jerusalem and the people's worshipful response.

The people hailed him by waving the palm leaves.

They cried, "Hosanna!" which means "Lord, save us!" They believed that Messiah would save them from the oppressive Roman rule and restore a better government.

Save, He did. But it was an internal and spiritual saving accomplished on a cross days later. He saved and saves us from the tyrannical rule of ourselves.

How appropriate in the light of the Brussel's attacks and our chaotic presidential campaign. We are in great need of saving politically and spiritually. No one argues there is something terribly wrong with humankind. Some call it sin or a destructive nature or negativity. 

"Hosanna, hosanna! Lord, save us!" would still be the cry of many today. The phrase is no less meaningful 2000 years later.

Let's pick up our palms and  bush branches and praise the One who saves. Messiah has come!  Let's give Him rule of our hearts. If we could all be changed on the inside, the outside world might look quite different!

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