Palm Sunday celebrated this weekend ushers us into a poignant moment of hope-answered praise for our Savior. Let’s set the stage with Scriptures from the book of Jude, which carry us in a building crescendo pointing to Jesus’ appearing — the fullness of God’s majesty that just might move us to a garden dance!
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!
Jude 24-25 NIV
Like the pas de deux leading up to a ballet’s grande finale, that great series of glissades and tour jétés, with chainé turns in dizzying lengths, dancers soaring and spinning, nearly freed from the hold of the ground, we find this great enveloping praise of God our Savior. Can you feel the expectancy swelling and swirling in rich tension and magnificent anticipation?
Palm Sunday’s Hope
It is a fitting Word as we approach Palm Sunday, and connect to Jesus’ joyful entry into Jerusalem. The Savior’s path ahead would be overwhelming and death-defying, a somber contemplation that is the focus of these Lenten weeks. Still, hope was high in this prelude scene, and sure victory was parading…perhaps a few dance moves were performed while passing over the mountaintop?!
As soon as he got to the bottom of the Mount of Olives, the crowd of his followers shouted with a loud outburst of ecstatic joy over all the mighty wonders of power they had witnessed. They shouted over and over, “Highest praises to God for the one who comes as King in the name of the Lord! Heaven’s peace and glory from the highest realm now comes to us!”[c]
Luke 19:37-38 TPT
Through these praise parallels, we are swept up in God’s unfailing love, his glory, majesty, power and authority, our petty passions and worldly worries no match for the blessed hope of his glory to appear:
For we continue to wait for the fulfillment of our hope in the dawning splendor[e] of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus, the Anointed One.[f] He sacrificed himself for us that he might purchase our freedom from every lawless deed and to purify for himself a people who are his very own,[g] passionate to do what is beautiful in his eyes.
Titus 2:13-14 TPT
Refreshed in these Words, we are reminded that nothing can cut us off from His sight, or from all that we hope in Him.
In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:22-24 NIV
Know also that wisdom is sweet for your soul. If you find it, then there is a future for you, and your hope will never be cut off.
Proverbs 24:14 EHV
By His sacrifice, we are redeemed and purified; He is able to keep us from stumbling, and turns us around to present us happily in perfect harmony, with a flourish of grand jétés, and saut de basques, so to speak. Who, in the sunset of a blessed day in the garden, has not snuck in a few pirouettes of delight, too excited with the hope of all to grow, bloom, and ripen to stand still?
And then he showed me a fine lawn in the midst of the garden, prepared for dancing, where were suspended from the branches of the trees golden trumpets and fifes, and fine silver bows.— Martin Luther, personal letter written to his “dear little son, John Luther,” c. 1525, reprinted from A Sketch of the Reformation, by Thomas B. Fox, 1836
Go ahead! Celebrate Palm Sunday and let God’s majesty and the sweet embrace of salvation compel you to twirl about in a garden dance.
Prayer: O God, may the great rushes of your glory-glimpses overcome my distresses that leave me feeling cut off from You. By your sacrificial death, You have freed me to dance! With you, sorrows are given over to great joy; stumbling steps become dance moves toward the blessed future we have together. Lord, seal my heart and mind with hope, and may your passion pour out of me to do something beautiful in Your eyes (Titus 2:11 TPT).
There is a time for everything…a time to mourn and a time to dance…
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NIV
Hope is a garden defined! By its very working, the garden gives us something to look forward to — a good, glorious growth taking place or soon to dazzle us, one that lifts our hearts whenever we imagine it. Find Garden Hope is a 7-part devotional series for the Lenten season, matching God’s Word to garden antics and imagery and preparing our hearts to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with deeper union and delight.
Learn more about Palm Sunday from this sermon by the late Billy Graham, A Palm Sunday Message from Billy Graham
©2019 Shelley S. Cramm Wand flowers ‘Whirling Butterflies’, Guara lindheimeri, catch every breeze and seem to wiggle in delight – plant them this spring to prompt you to garden dance all summer! Photographed at the Museum of the Bible rooftop garden, Washington, D.C.
Photo 12200029 © Ying Feng Johansson | Dreamstime.com Close up of pink fuchsia flower with green background
©2021 Shelley S. Cramm Young date palm trees planted a the Old Mission Santa Barbara give us a chance to look eye to eye with their canopy of fronds – still, it would take a might arm to wave these branches!!
Photo 143284920 © Anna Khomulo | Dreamstime.com Little girls dressed as princesses playing in the garden
EHV notes Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® , EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com [c]19:38 This is a quotation of Ps. 118:26.