on the chancel steps

Why Palm Branches?


for Sunday April 1, 2012
Palm Sunday
lectionary focus: Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16
prop: palm branches
resource: http://www.historictrinity.org/palmsunday.html 

Good morning!

Today I would like for you to think about where you live, about your home. Home is a great place. There you have good things to eat, a good place to sleep, all of your toys and special things. And of course, there you have the love of your parents and family. Ahh. Home. A good, safe place.

Which brings me to my question: Why palm branches? Why Palm Sunday?

We celebrate today as Palm Sunday to remember the day Jesus came to Jerusalem and everyone was so glad to see him. They had a parade. They waved palm branches for Him and sang Hosannas.

Which brings me to my question: Why palm branches? Why Palm Sunday?

In the place of Jesus, there are lots of deserts. Dry, sandy, hot places. And back in the time of Jesus, when people had to travel through these dry, sandy, hot places, they looked for a safe place to stop and rest. They would look for an oasis, a little lake in the middle of the desert. And at this lake, there would be trees–palm trees. Here the people could get water from the lake and shade from the palm trees. They could rest. They were safe from the dry, sandy, hot desert. Now to find these lakes in the desert, the people would look across the desert sands for the tall, feathery branches of the palm trees, waving to them. And because these palm trees showed travelers where to find a safe spot, people adopted the palm as a symbol for welcome and safety. A symbol for rest and sanctuary and love. A symbol for home.

So the people welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem waving palms to let Him know He was safe, He was loved, He was home. We know that by the end of Holy Week, things for Jesus were not so safe. But through that darkness we come to know that God is our home, our eternal and glorious home.

We do not live in the desert, but today we use the palm branches to remember Jesus’s parade in Jerusalem and to remind us that here at church we have a home, safe with lots of people who love us, safe with our Lord who loves us very much. Ahh. Church. A good, safe home.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord
Thank You
for making us home.
Help us
to share Your safety
and love
with others.

We are not Christians alone. My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.