Lenten Devotional: Palm Sunday

Psalm 24Psalm 29Psalm 103Zechariah 9:9-121 Timothy 6:12-16Zechariah 12:9-11, 13:1, 7-9Matthew 21:12-17

The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. Matthew 21:14

Right after Jesus turned the money changers out of the temple, he cured the blind and the lame. He demonstrated what the temple was really for, to be a place of healing and wholeness. The reaction of the chief priests is predictable, as they are angry about the reaction of the grateful people in the temple who cry out to Jesus, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (verse 15). The people who are truly blind are the chief priests. They have lost sight of God’s will, and so can’t recognize when that will is worked through Jesus before their very eyes.

I have often wondered what it would have felt like to be in the presence of Jesus. I think of Holy men and women I look up to, and how they manifest a presence of love and grace. When the Dalai Lama visited Charlottesville, he projected abundant love that so profoundly affected the translator for the deaf who was on stage with him that she burst into tears when he placed his hands on her face. I imagine that’s the way that Mary felt when she first beheld her son, and the way Mary Magdalene felt when she was with Jesus. The woman who poured precious perfume on Jesus’ feet must have felt similarly graced by Jesus’ presence.

Would that we could see the face of Jesus in all with whom we interact, even the “chief priests” who stir our anger. Psalm 24, one of the appointed psalms for today, gives some direction: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. . . . Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob” (verses 3-4,6).