Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023 – Morning
By Rev. Palmer Cantler, Associate Pastor
What’s in a Name?
Read: John 12:13
“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord — the King of Israel!’”
The etymology of my name pairs well with the occasion of Palm Sunday. The earliest mention of Palmer is as a surname in the 12th century. Palmers were pilgrims who had returned from the Holy Land. These pilgrims were referred to as palmers, because they carried a palm branch or frond as a symbol of the journey they had just taken.
As Christians who know the full story of Holy Week, we know that Jesus brings the peace hoped for on Palm Sunday. We know the events that are to follow this triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We declare that Christ is king and his reign does bring peace. Yet, it is not the peace you might expect when you see the crowd waving palm branches. Jesus delivers peace, but not through military action and overthrowing the Roman army. The price of peace was not paid on the battlefield with soldiers, weapons and armies. The price of peace was paid by God’s only, begotten son taking on the sins of the world and dying on a cross. Jesus pays the ultimate price of peace to fulfill his Kingship.
The joyful, triumphant entry of the disciples and crowd is not the end of the story. This processional does not immediately jump to the tomb where we celebrate the joy of Easter morning. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem leads first through the events of Holy Week. Our journey as palmers, as religious pilgrims bearing palm branches, follows through each of these events as we wrestle to be disciples.
God of Peace, as we seek to be palmers, may the palms we wave be outward signs of the discipleship journeys we walk. Strengthen us throughout Holy Week to walk through each of these last days in your son’s life, so that we may more fully understand the sacrifice he made for us. Amen.