Important Symbols – The Palm Leaves
Last week it was implied that symbols can speak powerful narratives without using a single word. We continue in that vein with the symbol of the Palm Leaf. The palm leaf was used to celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The Israelites waved them in the air as Jesus passed by, and they were shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Jesus was celebrated and praised because they hoped he would rescue them from their oppressor. The Palm Tree was (and still is) a symbol of beauty and flourishing, victory and peace. This was the hoped-for outcome God’s people were celebrating when Jesus came to Jerusalem. Jesus did in fact bring peace and victory in an unexpected way. His peace and victory was ushered in through his death and resurrection, and the soon giving of the Holy Spirit to his faithful followers, to continue his important kingdom advancing work, on earth as it is in heaven.
Read Matthew 21:1-11
1 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2 telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 Tell Daughter Zion,
“See, your King is coming to you,
gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt,
the foal of a donkey.”
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Pray and ask God to show you how you can be a person who spreads the peace of Jesus in all of your relationships. Ask God to help you celebrate Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection this Easter season in very powerful and meaningful ways.
Consider making palm leaves using construction paper and sticks from the yard. Reenact the story of Jesus riding in on the donkey and shout the words from Matthew 21:9. Also think of a way to be in nature and experience the beauty of a flourishing tree or garden. If possible, plant a tree or some flowers. Talk about the care that is needed to maintain life.
Content inspired by Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection by Tracy Smith – Chalice Press: 2021. All rights Reserved.