A Prayer for Palm Sunday

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Dear God, we are a palmy people. We lay down our palm branches wherever and whenever we can for the objects of our hope can walk upon them. We lay down palms for our celebrities (red carpets) and palms for our lovers as they walk down the aisle. We lay palms for our old age and call it a retirement fund; palms for our children with the plans we have for them (though we often don’t admit that we do). God, we are quick to lay down palms for anything we hope might bring us hope, redemption, salvation and fulfillment.

And yet we are fickle people. With the palms of our hands we praise you, throwing them towards heaven with shouts of “Hosanna!” But then these palms are close in a fist, when we find that you are not the hope we want or envision. “Crucify!” we cry. We’ll waste no more palms on you.

And so God, today I ask that you would enter our straying hearts as we lay palms and enter this Holy Week. May we serve you, not just in word, not just in momentary excitement when the crowds praise you, but may we serve you at the times when these crowds are laying down palms for another celebrity, another leader, another hero and hope. May we keep the palms of our hands open in praise of you, even when you do something so seemingly foolish as angering the Pharisees, as getting yourself crucified.

Even when we wish to scold you like Peter, or curse you with closed fists (“Crucify! Crucify!”) may we instead pledge our allegiance to you with as much hope and admiration as when we laid down our palms at your feet.

Amen.

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