palm branches underfoot

[this is the first of a three-part imaginative reflection on the first holy week.]

in all of my 11 years, i had never seen something like this before. the palm branches strewn across the road. the people falling on their knees, praising the Man on a donkey. the air was buzzing, faces were filled with great hope, and it all felt so special. like a king had come to town.

my friends had told me about this Man. about the people He had healed. about how He had fed thousands of people from a young boy’s lunch. about how He had welcomed children, like us. like me.

some of the boys said their fathers believed He was a wise teacher. others said He was a miracle worker. still others seem to think He might be something more. i liked the fact that, even before i saw Him, i felt like He might want me around. like He might even have something to say to me.

the men in our village removed their coats and placed them on the road as He made His way, slowly, down the village road, crunching palm branches underfoot. the “clack, clack” of my friends’ wooden swords tagging each other played background music to the adults’ impromptu worship service. “hosannah! hosannah in the highest!”

my friends were more interested in their games than this Man, but i couldn’t take my eyes off of Him.

the way He almost seemed to look past this scene, as though He didn’t notice the crowds. or as though He was simply unfazed by it all. it wasn’t so much that He didn’t seem to care, but that He was distracted. as though something else was on His mind. something bigger.

and i couldn’t help but wonder what that meant. i couldn’t help but think that no one there that day understood what this meant, not even those who seemed to think they did.

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