The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of Palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord - the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: "Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" His disciples did not understand these thigns at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
And just like that, all of a sudden, Holy Week is upon us. This is my first year in nine years that I am not serving in a ministerial capacity during Holy Week. It feels strange not to be a part of the busiest week of most pastor's years. I miss it. I can't even really participate in worship services this year. There is a church in town, but the services are all in French, so I wouldn't really be able to understand what was happening if I attended.
Interestingly enough, that would put me in good company with the disciples on Palm Sunday. Despite Jesus having told them, many times, what was going to happen to him in the coming week, they didn't really understand it. It was only in hindsight, looking back after Jesus had been glorified, after the resurrection, that they understood.
Holy Week is a difficult week, filled with a roller coaster of emotions. Jesus is welcome triumphantly into Jerusalem. Jesus is betrayed. Jesus prays in the garden for God's will to be done. Jesus is humiliated, tortured, crucified. At the end of the week, we are left in the darkness, in the sadness, in the waiting. We know what is coming on Easter morning, but there is wisdom to be found in the waiting, in trusting that the darkness will not have the last word.
This week we celebrate, we cry, we mourn, and we wait. And we trust in God's plan for the future.
Oh God, even when we know the outcome the waiting is hard. Help us to truly experience the emotions of Holy Week this year, to feel in our hearts and our souls what Jesus went through, for us. Feeling the lows will help us experiences the highs that much more. And help us to know that through it all, you are with us. Amen.