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ScriptureMatthew 21:1-11

Action:  Before you read today’s Scripture, either go outside and find some sort of branch or find a coat you don’t mind laying on the ground.  As you read the passage, pause after verse 8 to lay the branch or coat down.  When you get to verse 9, let everyone in your household join in with the words of the crowd:  “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Wave your branches. Lay down your coats. Shout “Hosanna,” which means, “save us, please!” Your king is coming. Your king is here!

Palm Sunday is an opportunity for us to join with the crowds in Jerusalem and recognize Jesus as our king. But there’s a problem: We have no idea what that means. As Americans, our country was founded in opposition to a king. The only sovereignty we know is our own. And the closest we come to royalty in our lives is through Elvis Presley or episodes of The Crown on Netflix or (until recently) Lebron James on the basketball court. We don’t know what it means to have a king.

But that’s probably a good thing — because Jesus is a king like none other. He rides on a beast of burden to bear our burdens. His authority takes the form of self-giving love. His crown is made of thorns, his throne is a cross, and he goes to die so that we might live. Palm Sunday is thus an opportunity for us to recognize Jesus as our king, and to let him teach us what that really means.

So grab your branches and your coats. Lift them up and lay them down, and let your heart follow suit. Shout, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” And then, in social distance but spiritual connection, commit yourself to following him on the dusty road of discipleship — this Holy Week, and always.

– Blake Daniel, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Sylva