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  • Mariah Martin

Palm Sunday-Meditative Stations

Have you noticed anything different about today? About Luke’s text, or the decorations of the room? What is missing this Palm Sunday?


Palm Sunday is often called The Triumphal Entry. It’s a celebration, where people rejoice at the prospect of Jesus being a king. People wave palm branches, shout, and cheer for Jesus. While some kings might come into Jerusalem with mighty war horses, Jesus chose a humble donkey. Perhaps this is a glimpse into how Jesus would have ruled as king. He would have ruled from below, as a serving King, not a top-down king of domination and violence.

But that’s not what happened in this version of the story. There were no palm branches. No crowds. Only the disciples laying down their coats on the road. The Pharisees were worried about the noise that the disciples were making. They told Jesus to quiet them down. But he refused. There would be no stopping of the events that were to follow. If the disciples were to be quiet, then the stones would cry out.

And cry out they did. But not yet. First Jesus cried.

The lectionary text for this Sunday conveniently leaves out four verses. It stops at verse 40. But 41-44 Read:

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus wept. The disciples praised God for all the miracles they have seen but Jesus wept.

What a sight that must have been. I don’t know if it was this way back then, but today-at least- we are not very used to seeing men cry. Let alone openly weeping. Men are unfortunately taught to keep in emotion, to bottle up grief and anguish.

Yet here, plain as day, in front of other men, Jesus sobbed. We hear of Jesus crying when his dear friend Lazarus died, so what is Jesus crying over now?

He is crying because there are events set in motion. He is crying because he sees the cross in the distance. Even his closest friends didn’t get it. And they worship while they too should be lamenting.

But the stones get it. They cry out when no one else does. After Jesus was crucified, what happened to the stones? The earth quaked and rocks split in two. The rocks lamented.

Creation was there for Jesus even when the disciples couldn’t be. It even cradled Jesus in death, his tomb carved out of stone. It even made way for Jesus, after three days rolling to the side when Jesus was resurrected. The stone in front of his tomb parted the way, acknowledging that even death could not hold Jesus.

The stones got it. They wept while Jesus wept, knowing that the stones of the Jerusalem temple would fall. Not even one stone would remain stacked on another. Violence would continue to riddle the city, because it did not see Jesus for the savior that he was.

So he wept. And then he died.

This text begs the question, what do we do when there are events set in motion. Events beyond our control. When we see destruction at the horizon and we just don’t know what to do?

Well if we take Jesus as a model for our lives, then we only have one option.

We weep, we weep and we press on.

We trust that Creation will cradle us, that the stones will get our grief. We trust that death cannot contain us, that the grave doesn’t get the last word. Even if death tries to hold us down, the stones will still roll away, freeing us to live anew.[1]

But for now, we weep. We weep for that we do not understand. For events we cannot control. We weep for illness. For exhaustion. For violence. For a loss of control.

We weep when life doesn’t look like we thought it would look like. We weep for when people don’t understand us—even if they are our closest friends. We weep when we see our friends heading for their own destruction, when we know that they have set their path and will not be deterred.

We weep.

But thankfully, today, we weep among friends—friends who just might get it. We weep within a worshiping community. We weep within a family that even if we have set our path in the way of destruction, they will walk with us. We weep knowing that this is a safe space for emotion to fill the room.

We weep surrounded by stone. Stone that might just weep for us, if we cannot do it ourselves.

So weep, my loves. I have set up stations to help us process all that is going on inside of us today.

(There were stations with different contemplative questions set up all around the church. There was a place with sand, clay, water, candles, etc.)

Works Consulted

Commentary on Luke 19:28-40

Elisabeth Johnson

Commentary on Luke 19:29-44

Greg Carey

Commentary on Luke 19:28-40

Michael Joseph Brown

Epworth Commentaries

The Gospel of Luke

Judith Lieu

Interpretation: Luke

Fred B. Craddock

Abingdon New Testament Commentary: Luke

Robert C. Tannehill

The New Century Bible Commentary:

The Gospel of Luke

E. Earle Ellis

Picture From:

The New Testament Library: Luke

John T. Carroll

[1] This idea is not original, see Katerina Friesen’s article on stones:

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