Saturday, April 12, 2014

From the Palms to the Cross

They took palm branches out to meet him, shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" --John 12:13

I had picked up a Bible that was my father's.

As I flipped through the pages, something fell into my lap. It was a palm cross. A very old palm cross. It had a straight pin through the middle. I remember the time when everyone had a palm cross pinned to their clothing as they entered the church on Palm Sunday.

As I held it in my hand, it was a reminder of my father's faith...and his faithfulness to his church. I'm sure my mother removed the cross from his coat when they got home that day. She stuck it in his Bible and there it was for me, all these years later.

What a scene it must have been when the road to Jerusalem was lined with happy people waving palms to welcome Jesus. I remember the pictures of the happy faces and the bright green palm branches from the walls of the Sunday School rooms. Jesus knew the joy would be short-lived. He did not come to earth to bask in the shadow of palms. As he told disciples Andrew and Philip:

"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" (John 12:27-28)

And so I see the symbol of salvation in an old, brittle, faded palm frond twisted into a cross. The promise of the life of Christ and the joy of my salvation because he loved me to death.

Father, we glorify your name this Palm Sunday. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!