Palm Sunday :: Crosses?

“The cross stands empty to the sky.” [The Hymnal 1982, 182]

Cross and Sky

Wait a minute. That doesn’t make much sense. Quoting from an Easter hymn on Palm Sunday? What’s up with that?

Well, that is kind of where we find ourselves today isn’t it? After all, every Sunday is a celebration of the day of Resurrection. And today, the day in which the church commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem while also hearing of his passion and death—evoking in worshippers the disparate emotions of elation and grief—begins with an empty cross. In fact we truly begin with no cross whatsoever at all! For it is not until the horrific events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion that we even think of the cross.

So let’s at least just spend a few moments in remembrance of the procession into Jerusalem. Let us raise our shouts of Hosanna, Lord! Hosanna! Let us wave our branches of palm and cheer the One who saves. And let us bow our heads and bend our knees before the One who reigns on high! We’ve so little time to be happy. Now’s our chance. We’ve no time for any kind of cross right now.

For all too soon our shouts of rejoicing will turn into taunts of Crucify! Crucify him! We join the crowds in their derision of the One-who-didn’t-save-us as we wanted to be saved. And we mock the One-who-wouldn’t-be our kind of king while we casts lots for the clothing of the One-who-disappoints.

Yeah. We’ve no time for a cross right now. Soon there will be countless crosses we would have Jesus bear.

So for now, for just a little while, can’t it be empty?

RCL Lectionary for Palm Sunday, Year C

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