Draw Closer to God
Palm Sunday Devotion
What occasion deserves a ticker-tape parade? Welcoming home Super Bowl champions could be one, or a visiting dignitary. Confetti flies in the air, little children wave flags by the roadside, hands excitedly clap and voices resound everywhere. It is a wonderful occasion with happy and contented people milling around the town square.
I experienced such a day when I was a youngster, joining with hundreds of schoolchildren, waving the Union Jack and welcoming Queen Elizabeth II to the island kingdom of Tonga. I felt happy and proud of my heritage and contented that we were fulfilling our given task for such a great lady. I shouted with glee and affirmed to myself and my peers that my purpose there was worthwhile. Imagine how the dignitary is thinking and feeling as he or she is basking in the glory of the moment.
Jesus must have felt it on Palm Sunday, if only for a brief moment, a sense of satisfaction, as he watched his disciples and the crowd chanting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Little did the crowd know what venomous salutations they would be echoing in the next few days.
Sometimes my personal inhibitions hold me back from shouting and singing praise to God. I would say I’m going to just let my good deeds speak for me. True enough, but only God knows that. I need to show the world who I am and whose I am. I must proclaim that God is Lord of all, because if I don’t do it, Jesus said that the rocks will shout it out.
We are a people of little faith. Today, we sing praises and shout hosannas, and tomorrow we act as if we don’t believe in God at all. What possesses us to behave in such unstable fashion? What makes us go back and forth on our convictions? What makes us so forgetful that Jesus’ teachings become oblivious in our daily lives?
I am thankful that by celebrating Palm Sunday it reminds me of how we once were, the unstable followers, who can be influenced by others or circumstances to rebuke what is right, to let our faith be clouded over by greed and corruption. Never again do I want to be throwing confetti in the air today and then deny my Lord’s existence the very next day. Never again do I want to shout, “Hosanna!” yesterday and scream “Crucify him!” today.
My wish for you and me this Palm Sunday is that we draw closer to God because God’s love and grace is sufficient for all of us to share. When we share in God’s love and grace we are energized to pray harder and work harder for those that are marginalized. When we are close to God, we are more apt to change our ways from being complacent to being proactive, from indifference to cooperation.
This year’s A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial calls for A Time to Change: Technology. With God’s help, we as United Methodist women will combine prayers and money to effect change for many women, children and youth who have missed opportunities to advance because of the lack of knowledge and know-how to use technology. It is time for us to stand and shout “Hosanna!” and really mean it.
Gracious and loving Jesus, as you journey toward the cross, we humbly ask of you to stop by at each and every heart. Touch our lives individually so that we may gain strength in order to touch others as you would have us do. We ask theis in your Holy Name. Amen.
Tupou Seini Kelemeni is a Women’s Division director from the California-Pacific Conference.