Our minister talked about dandelions in her children’s story. She told the kids that she has heard that Christians are like dandelions. They bow down when the mower goes over them and then stand right back up!
I’m sure there are many people who might consider us to be weeds, popping up all over even where we weren’t planted. Rooted in God, we can survive many types of mowing and then just continue to grow.
Spread your seeds, and show your sunny face to someone this week!
The best experience I’ve ever had with palm trees was a few years ago when my sister and I went to Cancun. We spent hours sitting under the shade of palm trees reading the books which had weighed down our suitcases on the trip down. It was peaceful, it was beautiful, and most importantly right now, it was warm!
For most kids who grow up in New Brunswick (those who don’t travel south on vacations) their experience of palm trees is limited to the occasional house plant, and the palm fronds that are passed out to the children in churches on Palm Sunday. In churches around the world palm branches will be passed out to children this Sunday in commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem which began what we call Holy Week.
I started thinking about what we do with the branches in relation to what was actually done on that first day. I always assumed that the children waved the branches in the air, which may be the case for some, but mostly they laid them down on the ground in front of him, creating a carpet of green, a palm carpet. As far as the people were concerned, Jesus was entering Jerusalem as a king and deserved special attention. They gave him the “red carpet” treatment on Sunday and then by Friday they were crying for his death.
My dad was saying the other day that it seemed strange that we consider Palm Sunday as a celebration when it really is the beginning of the end for Jesus and based on the Jew’s misinterpretation of Jesus’ role as the Messiah. He wasn’t here to be an earthly king who would defeat the Romans and seize control. That is the person they were dancing, cheering, and quoting scripture about, but it wasn’t the man on the donkey.
By Palm Sunday word was definitely spread wide about all the miracles that Jesus had been doing, all the radical ideas he had been preaching, and definitely the news that he had just raised a man who had been dead for four days! This was, to borrow from the popular rock opera of the 70’s, a Superstar entering the temple city! Jerusalem was already filled to overflowing with people who had come to celebrate the Passover at the temple. Everyone wanted to see him. For our politicians today it would have been a photo-op and media event for which they could only wish!
I think the reason we celebrate Palm Sunday isn’t that we are commemorating the erroneous reason from Jesus’ day, but celebrating the true meaning of the entry of the Messiah. Jesus was entering Jerusalem as the man who would not conquer the Romans, but would conquer death itself! So, get out your palm branches, or whatever materials you choose, and make a carpet for our king. “With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (Psalm 118: 27)
Posted in Bible Study, Lectionary, Reflections
Tagged Bible, change, Christ's triumphal entrance, Christian, Christianity, church, Easter, God, Jesus, king, man on a donkey, Messiah, Palm Sunday, palms, Psalm 118:27, reading, red carpet, reflection
OK, so kneeling might work but the kneeling stool did not work for me at all…I couldn’t figure out how to use it at all. I realize this sounds rather pathetic, but it was much higher than I expected and I just slid off. This is just a minor issue though.
When I was kneeling to pray it was more formal somehow. It was not difficult to think of things to pray about but it felt much less like the connection I normally have with the Father. I found myself using more formal language than usual. In the end, after I said Amen, I went to bed and proceeded to pray again without really planning to.
Posted in Prayers, Reflections
Tagged Christian, Christianity, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, kneeling, posture of prayer, prayer, religion, traditions
Tonight when I curl up with God it will be in very different circumstances from usual. I am staying the night at a Roman Catholic retreat center in Mississauga, Ontario. My room is just big enough for a twin bed, the door to open and close, some hangers to hang behind the door and the chair I am sitting on at the end of the bed. Other than a tiny ½ bath the only other feature in the room is a prayer stool with a table to hold the Bible.
I got thinking about the differences in the ways we pray. In my Presbyterian church during worship we sometimes pray standing, sometimes sitting, but we don’t kneel. Many of my Catholic and Anglican friends kneel to pray. Our Muslim brothers and sisters kneel and bow their heads to the ground in prayer. As mentioned the other day, Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery) would like to go out in a field or climb a tree to pray but she certainly didn’t understand why she had to kneel at her bedside to say her prayers.
I have no deep theologically based answers to the question of the posture of prayer. Maybe we need to look at this from the perspective of body language in general. We all know that if we are talking to someone who has their arms tightly folded we are not likely to get them to agree with what we are saying. We can tell by looking at a person’s posture if they are defensive, relaxed, interested, bored, ready to leave, or angry. If you felt that you needed to protect yourself from potential attack you would hardly get down on your knees and put your forehead to the floor. Such a posture would leave you a sitting duck! But maybe that is the whole point of praying that way. In order to take that posture for prayer you need to have complete trust. Some of us might do it in the privacy of our rooms but I cannot imagine doing it where anyone was going to see me.
I have occasionally, guided by one devotional writer or other, been called upon to read and pray in certain postures. Even though I am alone in my own room I still feel silly following these directions. To be honest, I don’t even read the scripture aloud if it calls for me to do that. So, tonight I am going to try something different. I am going to pull out the little stool and kneel before God and I’ll let you know what I thought of it tomorrow.