Palm Sunday - A Day of Thanksgiving?
By the Rev. Eradio Valverde
God of love and mercy; bless and watch over the life and needs of this dear reader; in Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.
Our text for today comes from Psalm 118: 1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever." 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. 29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (New Revised Standard)
This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. Almost every church in the world celebrates this day as the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and it is usually celebrated using children to march into the church while singing an appropriate hymn of praise and celebration. The children enter in waving palms and proud moms and dads take photos of this joyful procession. It's a great start to a time of thanksgiving for all that God has done, is doing, and will do, in our lives and in the life of our churches. It is, as the Psalmist said this morning a call for us to declare in worship - "God, your love never ends!" And after worship in any setting where we can - "God's love never ends!" The second part of the psalm is a remembrance of what God led David to write in this song of worship, that God invites us to walk in to the "gates of righteousness." We remember Jesus entering Jerusalem on the donkey and what a great day that was; but in the here and now, the call is for us to understand the meaning behind that entry. We too, need to enter into a right relationship with God because of what Jesus did. Righteousness is that which allows us in that relationship to leave outside those "gates" the things that don't belong in our lives. Entering into a relationship with Jesus is a fresh start, a new start for our lives.
As you watch or take part in Sunday's celebration, remember the meaning behind what happened almost two thousand years ago. It was done for your good. And also remember that it is an invitation for us to enter too, that which God offers to us, the right and perfect relationship with Him.
PRAYER: Loving God, enter into the gates of my heart. Let me truly have a relationship of trust and obedience with You. Let me truly be known as a person of righteousness. I ask this in Christ Jesus' precious and powerful name. Amen.
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord!
--Rev. Eradio Valverde, District Superintendent in the Corpus Christi District ? Southwest Texas Annual Conference.
el Intérprete Online, March-April, 2011