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candle-753717As I write, a candle flickers next to me.

The kitchen is messy. The sun is setting.

I haven’t yet started the book I was supposed to read today—that I decided to read today instead of yesterday or Friday.

And yet, I don’t care. I don’t care that tonight will be a late night or that tomorrow will probably be rough.

I don’t care that this week will go from difficult to exhausting, with no respite this weekend.

And this lack of concern isn’t the result of apathy or ignorance or anger.

It’s the result of peace—a peace that has been a long time coming.

A long time coming.

A long time coming.

* * *

The music begins to swell. And it’s not my cup of tea.

I’m a quiet-in-the-dark-with-a-candle kind of person. The full band is overwhelming at times.

And there are the hands in the air. And the swaying.

we welcome you with praise

And yet, the anthem overcomes my hesitation. In this spare church, with no stained glass, no icons, no candles—in this church that has yet to mention the fact that it happens to be Palm Sunday—it is here that the Way of Jesus is taught.

And lived.

almighty God of love, be welcomed in this place

* * *

Buoyed by the music, I lift my eyes to the people all around me. And I am struck first by all of the children. It’s like this church is a baby factory.

And they’re all unspeakably adorable. And most of them are getting their groove on to the music.

I whisper to Amanda that I am glad we are here. That I feel worship in me again.

And my soul dances with the little girl with the huge blue eyes—blue as the depths of God’s love. Blue as his infinite love.

And, child, remind me—what is God like? I’ve almost forgotten in my aging sin. All I have are the hazy memories—the resonances of a song I once knew.

Dance before the Lord, son. Dance your three-year-old heart out. Feel the wonder of your body in movement to the beat. That’s how the stars feel, held in his bleeding palms.

* * *

This is the body of Christ broken for the sins of the whole world, and this is the blood of the new covenant shed for the redemption of all people. Take, eat. Take, drink. For Love has overcome the world.

* * *

The preacher. Not a priest. Or a pastor. A preacher. A proclaimer.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

He tells us that the only thing that matters is love—that every group believes stuff, but the test of a religion is whether it moves people to love friends and enemies and brothers and strangers.

He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

Jesus offers another way. He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey to the accolades of his people, and he doesn’t let it get to his head. He heals Caesar. He beats our swords into ploughshares.

* * *

The music returns for the ending.

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.

Amen.

* * *

Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!

* * *

Today is Palm Sunday. Today is the first day of Holy Week. Jesus has entered Jerusalem.

We watch and we wait.

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