Palm Branch Meditation: Palm Sunday 2021

During the season of Lent, my husband, Pastor Patrick Sipes, will be our guest blogger with a series of tactile meditations exploring Sunday’s Gospel text. He is currently serving as the transitional minister at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Platte, Nebraska, and will be inviting congregation members into these meditations in worship. May God bless you as you explore Scripture through Prayer.

“Palm Sunday” by Bennilover on flickr.com

For this meditation you will need a palm branch. If a live palm branch is not available to you, you could cut one out of green cardstock or paper. There is a good template for one here: https://coloringpage.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/pabch.pdf

Today is Palm Sunday, on this day, Jesus is welcomed into Jerusalem as a king might be. With no hesitation, animals are lent to him, crowds of people come out shouting in victory, and the road is strewn with palm branches and cloaks, a sign of honor for the one who is coming. It is quite the scene and sounds quite the alarm for the political and religious elite in Jerusalem. For them, Jesus represents a threat to their existence and way of life. For them, Jesus is someone who must be dealt with, quickly, dramatically, and publicly. Over the next week, we will take time to remember these events, to reflect on where we see Jesus as savior and where we fear Jesus as a threat to our own way of life. But for today, we join the crowd, we take our palm, and we join the throng.

As the day begins, Jesus sends a couple disciples on a mission to collect a mount for him to ride on. Telling the disciples if anyone questions you, just tell them that the Lord has need of it and will send it back later. And it works. As you hold your palm, contemplate for a few moments what you have that Jesus might need or use for his mission in the world.

(Spend a few moments in reflection.)

Knowing that you will get them back when he is done with them, offer these things for Jesus’ use when he asks for them in the future.

As the parade continues down the mountain side to Jerusalem, the crowds shout Hosanna, which means “Save us.” As you wave your palm, bring to the place of your meditation the places in your life where you need Jesus’ saving, and contemplate what that really looks like to you.

(Spend a few moments in reflection.)

With the places where we need Jesus in our lives and on our hearts and minds, we say to him Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!

As they approached Jerusalem, people laid their cloaks on the ground, and spread palm branches on the road, a sign of deep respect and honor. As you lay your palm on your lap, bring to the place of your meditation ways in which you might show honor to Jesus in the coming week.

(Spend a few moments in reflection.)

Knowing better what you need to lay down for Jesus to show him honor, ask him for help with doing so in the coming week.

Let us now enter into this Holy Week, aware of God’s connection to us, and walking through it at Jesus’ side. Amen.

If you would like to explore this text as a family devotion, check out my post for Lent in a Dish 2021 on Family God Time: https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/lent-in-a-dish-2021-week-6-jesus-is-welcomed-to-jerusalem/

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