Holy Week has been a good one for me this year, but there was still some stress for me. This is an account of one particular stress point and the faithfulness of our awesome God who came through for us.
We have a number of traditions here at Salem Lutheran Church as it pertains to Holy Week; traditions I look forward to. Here are just a few of them (that relate to my particular stress point this week):
–We have a large rugged cross that stands in the narthex during lent that has a purple cloth draped on it topped with a crown of thorns.
–On Maundy Thursday we strip the altar and bring that rugged cross outside, to the base of the narthex ramp and drape a black cloth over the cross beams.
[A cool story about this from Good Friday. Our custodian saw a van flying down the street next to the church on Friday. When the van got to the church and saw the cross at the base of the ramp he slammed on his breaks and came to a screeching halt. He looked at the cross for a couple moments and then proceeded on his way. This cross, each year, attracts a lot of attention.]
–On Saturday we bring that rugged cross back inside to prepare it for Easter. There are rings attached to the cross that hold Easter lilies. We then staple the palms from Palm Sunday to the cross. And let me tell you it is quite a sight…as pictured below…
…well…here’s where the stress comes in…
…on Wednesday this week my wife and I noticed that the Palm branches from Sunday were dead. They were dried up and crunchy even though they were still in water. The problem was that we forgot to cut the ends to allow the branches to soak up the water. Now what were we to do? Wednesday was already a stressful day for me and this was the last thing I needed. One of my deacons came in and cut the ends and put them in water. We prayed that somehow God would resurrect those palms for Sunday.
On Thursday when I went out to Belmont for Maundy Thursday worship I noticed that Belmont had a bunch of palms that they were no longer needing.
[cue the ligh bulb that popped up over my head]
I asked the ladies of Belmont if Salem could have the palms and they said that would be no problem. Now we have palms for the cross and our Easter tradition can continue. An answer to prayer. Praise be to God!
Now…as I write this, people are up in the sanctuary getting ready for Easter worship. There are families in the Fellowship Hall preparing for the Easter breakfast. And I am here finishing this post and soon will be finishing my Easter sermon. I sit here feeling refreshed from great Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worships. I sit here feeling hopeful that our amazing God is ever so faithful. I sit here looking forward to our Easter worship services (as tiring as they will be for me, but I never seem to notice at the time).
God is faithful…not because He “resurrected” some palm branches for us, because…well…just look at the cross.
Have a very blessed Easter Sunday and God bless!