Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The hundreds of people shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we too have moved online to stay connected. God is faithfully connecting us to the people He has purposefully placed around us. Nothing, not physical separation nor pandemic, can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ, the hope we share in Him, and the celebratory anticipation of His assured return. Through these uncertain times, when nothing looks the way we expected it would or are used to, one thing remains the same: God. On the heels of Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week; it reminds us of its significance and value for our lives. That very important day in history, when Jesus began His journey towards the cross.
- Read the Gospel Accounts
Recorded in all four New Testament Gospel Accounts: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19, Jesus fulfills Old Testament Scriptures. We can draw close to God by reading the truth of His Word. Scripture promises, where two or more are gathered, He is with them! Scripture also says, when we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him. God is close! When Jesus rode into the city on Palm Sunday, He was God the Son coming close to us. Because of His sacrifice, He remains with every believer through the Holy Spirit. Reading the story of Palm Sunday aloud, or in private, is an intimate way to draw close to God and celebrate.
- Prayer and Fasting
Prayer and fasting help us to focus on and brings us closer to God. Jesus, Himself, prayed, and fasted when He walked the earth.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35
In these uncertain times, drawing closer to God brings healing and encouragement to our souls. Setting aside time to sit in prayer with our Father and sacrificing distractions to focus on Him allows us our understanding of the significance of Jesus riding into the Holy City on Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to be sharpened. Prayer and fasting are a facet of worshipping our great God. He craves closeness with us, and we are filled and settled by His presence.
- “Go” to Church
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as in the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
Quarantine has not kept the church from meeting together. Faithful church leaders have been establishing an online church presence long before the need we face now. Connecting with the local church and tuning into the truth, God is speaking through leaders locally, across the country, and the globe has never been more accessible. Anyone with a smartphone can tune in from the palm of their hand. It’s not a replacement for physically meeting together. But, in these uncertain times, we feel like we’re together, even though we’re apart. Tune in and celebrate with brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though we may not know each other or be near each other physically, now more than ever, we feel connected through Christ.
- Gather “Palms”
“When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:” Luke 19:37
Depending on where we live, it may be possible to walk outside of our doors and gather palms. If so, put on some worship music and wave them proudly. Clutch onto them, knowing the significant history in the victorious waving of palms. For those without access to actual palms, we can look to the flowers coming up with the first signs of spring, and celebrate the life coming through the cold ground in God’s time regardless of the calamity that surrounds us. We can draw palms, print off pictures, and wave them in celebration of Christ’s entrance into the “Holy City.” Especially for families with children, consider reenacting the parade through Jerusalem. Sing songs of worship together and help children to understand that though you may not be able to do the same activities that you usually would this time of year, it is still a time to be joyous and grateful!
- Adorn Windows, Prepare the “Sidewalk,” and Fill the Eggs
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:16
Many activities are circulating online we can use to celebrate Palm Sunday from our homes. No matter our age, these activities can bring joy to our hearts and those of our family and neighbors. Anyone can join, and perhaps we can add a cross to remind us with whom we place hope. These little reminders make a big difference in continuing to celebrate Jesus.