Sunday, March 28, 2010

Are You a Part of the Story or Are You on the Sidelines?

"If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine." Matthew 10:38.

Today is one of my favorite Sundays at our church, Palm Sunday. Each year the church rents a donkey, has a teenage boy dress up as Jesus, and passes palm branches out to those of us who have gathered to march behind "Jesus" on the donkey in the Palm Sunday parade. Our church takes up one city block and those who choose to participate carry palm branches shouting "Hosanna" as we march behind the teenager dressed up as Jesus riding on the donkey. We also bring food to share before and after the march. It is a great time of fellowship for the church body.

The best part of the event is the church body gets to be a part of a Bible story. It is a great visual for everyone, especially the children, to picture what it might have been like that first Palm Sunday as our Savior rode a donkey colt from Bethany into Jerusalem. We get to start Holy Week the way Jesus started it. As a congregation we get to wave palm branches and shout "Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest."

I have to admit that I did not participate in this event until after I had children old enough to march and carry a palm branch. Oh, how I wish I had not waited to become a part of the story. This parade is an opportunity to worship and to prepare our hearts for the week's journey ahead from the King riding into Jerusalem on a donkey to the Savior dying on a cross for our sins.

My husband and I have tried to use this illustration as a teaching moment. We get the opportunity to explain why the church is outside waving palm branches and shouting "Hosanna" to a guy riding on a donkey. Why do we wave palm branches, attend church every week, read our Bibles, love Jesus, pray to Jesus and worship Jesus? Because of Jesus' selfless sacrifice so that we might be forgiven of our sins, have eternal life and relationship with God. After all, the Christian faith comes down to this one truth for which we all believe. Jesus is the risen Christ, the Son of God sent to die on a cross as the Holy Lamb for the sins of the world so that we, humans, might be made right in God the Father's eyes and have eternal life. Christ has died; Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

My prayer and hope for me is that daily I will choose to be a part of Jesus' story that He wants to tell about my life. That I will journey behind Him daily shouting "Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest" following Him as He leads me on the path He wants me to take. It is my prayer for my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, and Christ's body that we will not wait to become a part of the story He has written for our lives. Let us daily choose to get off the sidelines, take up our cross and follow our Savior.

Heather S. Deaton

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