The evening twilight brings a quiet time for reflection. Today is the first day of spring so Teddie, straining at his leash in excitement, and I went for an afternoon walk, his favorite activity other than snuggling in my lap. The sun shone brightly at times, defying the cold winds that gusted making the Westminster wind chimes in the garden play excitedly, while other times, clouds of ominous darkness hid the rays of the sun and its promises of spring.
This first day of spring is eagerly anticipated marking the end of the dreariness of winter, allowing us to rejoice in the newness of the flowers blooming, the greening of the trees and the warmth of the sun. It entices us to go outside enjoying the daffodils as they meander across yards, up and down the slopes as if the path to their destination is just part of the joy. The branches of the forsythia bushes cascade, dripping in fragile yellow blooms as their green leaves tease with hints of summer. The dogwood trees have buds that are waiting for that right moment to burst forth in bloom, just on the cusp of celebrating this Holy Week as Easter day approaches.
For today is also Palm Sunday – the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a small donkey, His feet almost dragging the ground. People welcomed Him with excited cries of “Hosanna” for the King of Kings was entering Jerusalem! Power had arrived through this King, bringing not might, but mercy – not revenge but redemption. This first day of Holy Week, a week of terrible events leading to the last supper, Jesus’ arrest, conviction and brutal death on a cross, His burial in a dark, cold tomb, and His resurrection on Easter day.
Life is difficult but we must not lose hope. The past few weeks have been difficult as loved ones struggle with critical health problems and with suffering that they do not deserve. I spend most days in prayer for these loved ones, holding in one hand fear and in the other faith, clasped so tightly it is difficult to know which hand holds which, as my prayers give me hope for His grace to comfort and heal them.
I hold the cross you see in the picture. It is a cross I received on Palm Sunday seven years ago; given out by the children just before service. I was told it wouldn’t last long because it would dry out. Yet, it has not changed and remains a gentle reminder of His promises kept. Just as spring is a time of renewal, Easter is a time of rebirth. God will deliver us from our imperfect self through His son Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for us that we might be forgiven.
“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
For He is coming.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.”