Friday, March 26, 2010

Proclamation in Palm and Perfume

Palm Sunday sticks out in my remembrance as a big deal when I was growing up.

I wouldn’t be able to say how many times this actually occurred, but it seemed like tradition to go to Grandma’s church on Palm Sunday, receive an actual palm frond from the usher, and participate in the children’s church portion of the service during which we got to reenact Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. If my memory serves me correctly, we really shouted, “Hosanna! Hosanna to the King of Kings!”

And that was fun because we got to shout in church.

More than that, of course, it laid a foundation for me to grasp the importance of this historical event and embrace its spiritual significance.

Sadly, it’s been a while since I’ve celebrated Palm Sunday with such extravagance. So I thought I’d at least look into it, read the passage this year to commemorate the day.

I found out some cool stuff.

Ever wonder where all the people came from who were waving palm branches and laying down their coats for Jesus’ simple steed to tread on? As a child, I believed everyone recognized Jesus when they saw him, so it stood to reason that a random, spontaneous crowd gathered to see Him into the city. I mean, I would have joined that party, wouldn’t you?

WELL, I found out that the crowd had a source. They had just come from feasting at Lazarus’ house. You know, the dude Jesus raised from the dead? (Interesting, don’t you think, since Jesus was heading for His death, from which He would also rise… And I love that Jesus visited His best friends, chose to spend a day with them, before He left earth.)

Anyway, Martha, sticking to character, served while Jesus and Lazarus lounged and ate and communed with the others in attendance.

Can you guess where the other sister, Mary, was?

True to form, she appeared at Jesus’ feet. She broke an expensive jar of perfume and anointed His feet with it.

Hmmmm… As a child, I never reenacted that one.

How sensitive and discerning Mary must have been to Jesus and who He was and what was about to happen.

The Bible records another account of a woman breaking an expensive vile of perfume over Jesus’ feet. She is only identified as “a sinner” and not believed to be this same Mary. Two events, two women, but their actions and motivations sort of coincide.

The nameless woman, who I think could represent any and all of us if our hearts are willing, performed her selfless act and received forgiveness of her sins.

Mary, Lazarus’ sister, performed her act as a symbolic preparation for Jesus’ burial, which was less than a week away, unbeknownst to most of them.

Jesus’ burial made it possible for the sins to be forgiven.


And both events proclaimed Jesus publicly as the Messiah, the only sin-forgiving Authority in the Universe.

I’d like to go in to Palm Sunday ’10 and the Passion Week with these two women and their stories in mind. Yes, praise Him with waving palms, but also worship Him with everything I have, in humility and love, with thanksgiving and gratitude.

Happy Palm Sunday!

Also, Happy Birthday to my wonderful earthly father. Love you, Papala!

(photos by


Anonymous said...

Great post, Lori. Nice reminder how I can view Palm Sunday a little differently this year!

Happy Friday.

Susanne Dietze said...

Wow, fun post, Lori. I'll be recalling your words on Sunday. Blessings!

KM Wilsher said...

Yes, Lori, I'm headed out to church and this will focus and deepen my worship this morning.

Our church is part of a 24/7 prayer movement. Our turn is this week, passion week. What a blessing.

Thank you for pouring out your heart for us. One year, when we live in the same town again (it could happen) we'll have to get some palm fronds and do some shouting :0)

Lori Lundquist said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I hope your Palm Sunday was joyful. No palm fronds in our service, though. Too bad. :-) KM - I'll definitely take you up on that one of these days!! Have a great week!