Holy Week

On a warm, sunny Palm Sunday morning in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, our team gathered with the leadership of St. James United Methodist Church some 700 meters from the sanctuary. With palm fronds in hand and joy in our hearts, we began a processional with children, women, and men singing Hosanna! Hosanna!

When we arrived at the Church, we were met with another group processing from the opposite direction. The expressive joy was contagious as we processed into the sanctuary, still singing, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!

Later, among our group, someone asked, “What is the most memorable Palm Sunday you ever experienced?” I thought long and hard. I finally decided it was when our children, Chris and Laura were children. Laura was finally old enough to be a part of the processional and, with the other children of our congregation, paraded in the sanctuary just as these African children had on this Palm Sunday.

As I preached from Mark 11, I recalled the sequence of events leading up and following the triumphal entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem. It is worth noting that this is only time scripture records Jesus riding anywhere. From Nazareth through the Galilee and on through Jericho to Jerusalem never once did Jesus ride. Some 90 miles, he walked that journey up to Jerusalem, the city on a hill.

This week we leave Palm Sunday, journey through Holy Thursday, the Garden of Gethsemane, arrest, trial, the crucifixion, the tomb being sealed,  and then on Easter empty. The 40-day journey to the cross is coming to a close.

40 days of walking in The Way.

In 1779, John Wesley published The Methodist Hymnal. In the preface to the hymnal, Wesley wrote, “these hymns are not carelessly jumbled together, but carefully arranged under proper heads, according to the experience of real Christians.” Essentially, Wesley arranged his hymn-book as a spiritual biography of sorts for such a person.

In the best sense of the word, Lent is that journey toward being a real Christian.

While, some might mock the notion of a real Christian or debate what constitutes a real Christian, scripture is clear. “By their fruits shall they be known.”

It is my prayer that you join me is seeking to deepen my walk in The Way.

May the Christ be real to you in these Holy Days.