It’s Palm Sunday, 2015. Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter and commemorates the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. In many churches, parishioners carry palms representing the palm fronds brandished by followers of Jesus as he entered the holy city to celebrate Passover.
While not terribly religious, and having subscribed to a variety of faiths during the course of my 61 years, Palm Sunday is one of my favorites on the Christian calendar. Perhaps I enjoy a good triumphant processional. Perhaps it’s the exaltation and rejoicing. It’s kind of the 5 minutes between the 40 somber days of Lent and the crucifixion 5 days later. Not to sound unduly pessimistic, but life and all its complications can leave one feeling at least a little weary. So when we chance to experience our five minutes of exaltation and triumph they are all the sweeter.
I’m experiencing my five minutes in Baltimore Maryland this Palm Sunday. I’m spending the weekend with my daughter Tracy who is performing in a community theater production of Almost Maine. So I’m experiencing the triumph of her stage success. I’m simultaneously rejoicing in our relationship. Rarely are parents ever on equal footing with their children, but if we are lucky enough, we can catch glimpses of the adults they’ve become. My husband and I often say maturity is under-rated especially with regards to children. I arrived in Baltimore feeling broken down. An infection had taken possession of my sinuses; I’m hobbling on an ostensibly rehabbed knee; and feeling weighed down by family drama. I fretted I would make a poor companion for my daughter. Instead, Tracy has scooped up my sagging self, providing stability in the midst of my instability. In short order I was sitting in an exam room at an urgent care clinic with antibiotics in hand. Her sympathy and empathy has been healing and her insight into family dynamics helpful.Such a revelation to see role reversals between parent and child.
Aware I’m partial to Palm Sunday, Tracy constructed her own service for us to share this morning. Her Jewish heritage and love of Buddhism, coupled with liturgy from Congregationalism (my faith of choice), produced the sweetest of services. Our twosome housed our worship in an empty Episcopalian sanctuary (the church of my youth). As much as I’ve enjoyed past Palm Sundays, I’m not sure I recognized the symbolism of the day until now. Though short-lived, Jesus’ celebration, coming between deprivation and death, must have been balm to his spirit. Maybe Palm Sunday is a reminder for us to pause, savor, and celebrate those special moments appearing as an oasis between work and worry. I’m happy time with my daughter gave me such an opportunity.