Monday, March 26, 2018
Palm Sunday Across the Generations
Ed de Guzman
Hosanna, loud hosanna
the happy children sang;
through pillared court and temple
the joyful anthem rang;
to Jesus, who had blessed them
close folded to his breast,
the children sang their praises,
the simplest and the best.
Yesterday we attended worship where our son is now the minister and our five-year-old grandson got to be Jesus in the Palm Sunday procession. Talk about mixed feelings. He was cute as can be on the back of a donkey (an older boy in costume!) but in the gospel story we're told that the excitement of the crowds goes south fairly quickly. He was pleased though, and so were we.
Earlier last week Ruth and I visited my 92-year-old mother in her nursing home. She is struggling with memory these days, and even forming a complete sentence is a challenge. I read the Palm Sunday story to her from Mark's gospel, then reminded her of all the times she had walked the Palm Sunday road from Bethany to Jerusalem.
Mom was a travel agent for decades and took twenty or more groups of Christians through Israel. She had a fine singing voice and would lead her pilgrims in hymns at various sites. I mentioned that she would sing Hosanna, Loud Hosanna and then I bravely launched into the first verse, with Ruth. Mom joined us and continued to hum away, with eyes closed, after we had given up. I commended her for being right on tune and she gave me "the look" and said, "well, that was an easy one."
Both occasions, across four generations, were moving for us. We are aware that the continuity of our Christian faith and its liturgical traditions are anything but guaranteed in our changing and increasingly secular society. We're grateful for both of these gifts.