The hands raised high on that day, holding the green branches, taken from the trees and bushes around the city. It was spring. The fields were fresh and inviting. Their voices and their hearts rose in unison, with hope and freshness, like the season they were in. Deliverance was near, it would come as soon as the Master accepted to become the liberating ruler from oppression. Their hands were tightly gripping the branches, as their hearts gripped the dream of freedom projected in the humble man that was passing silently among them.
Other hands covered their mouth, for their lips murmured the hatred and the deceiving plan of murdering the Master. He had become a clear threat. He was gaining too much popularity, and that was unacceptable. But their hands could not cover their dark heart. It was visible beyond the covered lips, for the hearts – in the end – are seen regardless of the cover we use.
The hands of two of the disciples kept the donkey and his mother. After finding the animal as the Master said to them, they kept it close, as you hold on to a precious treasure. They had witnessed many miracles, but today it seemed to be something special. There seemed to follow something they had not experienced before. Their heart still did not understand.
The hands of the people in the city, come to celebrate the Passover, rested on their hips, puzzled – who is He? Who deserved such attention and excitement? A longing for God moved their hearts year after year when they came to worship Him. Is the Teacher’s presence that’s moving their heart in unexplainable ways the meaning of something more?
His hands took the children close to Him, they touched the diseased bodies, and the troubled, his hands touched the eyes of the blind and gave and the broken, He touched them to restore their sight. His hands could have stood far away, but they sought nearness, for His heart was seeking nearness. And these hands were going to be pierced. Raised on a rough and painful wood. Soon. Sooner than anyone from the exalted crowd could have predicted.
His hands are stretched toward you …
– Take a few minutes and look at your hands. How are they? Do they need to be pampered with a cream? Does the rough skin speak of fatigue, not just of the body, but of the heart, as well?
-Hold you hand in front of you and think about what you have been worried about lately? A medical problem – yours or someone’s dear? An unfulfilled desire? An exam or an important presentation? An important financial investment? Loneliness? A difficult relationship? Or a relationship that brings you butterflies in your stomach? A beautiful project that swallows your whole mind? Where does the Celebration find you now? What fills your hands or your heart?
– Is there something that you hold tightly with your fist? Something you know God asks you to entrust to Him, but you have become accustomed to this state? A fear? A wish? A dream? A plan? A dissatisfaction? A lack of forgiveness? A relationship? Surrender to Him, today, that area or little corner of your life that you have not fully left to Him. It can be either that challenging thing or that big, beautiful, whole-being-absorbing thing. Sometimes the heart is more closely connected with something beautiful and good, a gift from Him, that ends up taking too much of the heart.
His invitation is to come with the whole heart before Him. He holds his arms wide open to you and wants to receive you. When you are ready to come in prayer, open your fist, physically. As a visual image of your surrender.
The only way to resist entering Palm Sunday with hands held high for a king that serves our own desires and dreams, is to enter it with palms held out, palms and hearts open, in abandonment to a King that fulfills His desires for us, for His desires are best for us.