By Carol Round
Special to Inside The Pew
Holy Week dawned with a cloudy sky, rain showers and the threat of freezing temperatures in Oklahoma. It was mid-April. New plants were pushing their green heads through the soil in my flowerbeds. Would they survive the predicted late freeze?
The previous day, our church had celebrated Palm Sunday with the children marching into the sanctuary, waving palm branches and singing “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.” Not only do our children look forward to this day, the congregation enjoys celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.
In his Palm Sunday sermon, our pastor said Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies—some of them between 400-700 years before Jesus was born—including his arrival on the back of a borrowed donkey. Traditionally, entering the city on a donkey symbolized arrival in peace, rather than as a war-waging king arriving on a horse. As Pastor Ray said, “The purpose of that first Palm Sunday was to demonstrate the Kingship of God, and to offer peace. It was a non-violent challenge to a very violent (Roman) regime!”
He added, “Palm Sunday was no accident.” Neither was the crucifixion nor Easter Sunday. The events that took place during the first Holy Week were all part of God’s perfect plan, a plan to help us focus our hearts on the cross of Christ and His empty tomb. God’s perfect plan was to save humanity.
Evangelist Billy Graham said, “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” But His love didn’t end on the cross. He further demonstrated His amazing love through an empty tomb, offering hope to those who believe.
Remember John 20:1-3? “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’”
Some see Easter as no more than jelly beans, colored eggs, cellophane-covered baskets and giant candy bunnies but it is so much more. Easter is our symbol of hope, renewal and new life.
I came across the words to a song called “Every Morning is Easter Morning.” The chorus follows: “Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on! Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!” The first stanza includes the words: “I am one of the Easter people! My new life has begun!”
For people of faith, every day is Easter Sunday. When we accept the unconditional love of a Heavenly Father, who gave His precious Son for our sins, we can delight in what this youngster said, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, but Easter is everybody’s birthday.”
Easter was no accident. It was the Pinnacle of God’s Plan.
The author is available to speak at women’s events or to lead prayer journaling workshops. Email firstname.lastname@example.org