Palm Sunday is one of the most celebrate days of the Christian year. In fact, we are told, it is one day when children actually look forward to going to church: The music is upbeat, the children usually get to participate in a "palm procession," and in many churches they receive a palm branch to take home. All in all, a pretty exciting day!
But there is more to Palm Sunday than celebration and excitement. One commentator puts it like this: "The triumphant entry was an act of defiance. By the time this took place there was a price on Jesus head. The chief priests and Pharisees ordered that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him. The natural response would have been for Jesus to slip into Jerusalem and remain hidden. But he entered in a way that would bring the attention of the entire community on Him. It was an incredible act of courage.
How many times do we, when faced with difficult circumstances and tough decisions, slip into hiding and try to avoid the troubles that are before us? It is far easier to avoid a toxic person or situation than it is to bring issues to light or to force a confrontation. But there comes a point when we know, in our heart of hearts, that we must "ride into Jerusalem."
Jerusalem, for you, could be any number of things: Perhaps it is a heartfelt conversation you need to have with your spouse. Possibly the setting of actual boundaries coupled with enforced consequences is what is needed in your relationship with your children. Maybe it's time to begin exploring the possibility of a new job. It may be that you have struggled with a nagging habit or addiction for years and you now realize that you need to seek professional help. Whatever the need may be, courage to take action will certainly be required.
I hope that Palm Sunday will be a day of celebration for all. But I also pray that it will be a day when God will grant us the courage to "ride into Jerusalem" and confront the issues that need to be resolved. That, in essence, is what therapeutic assistance is for; to help us find a way to face and deal with those situations that bind us. If I can assist you in your "ride to Jerusalem" please call me to day: 918-914-HOPE (4673).
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.