Palm Sunday 2011
On Palm Sunday, Christians celebrate the procession of Jesus into Jerusalem
and the beginning of the events of holy week, leading to his death and
resurrection on Easter Sunday. I wonder if we don’t really have in our mind
the kind of parade that happens when the Phillies win the World Series or the
Eagles win the Super Bowl. And while I think the procession clearly involved
fans of Jesus, it might have been a much smaller and less alcoholic event.
There are three accounts of the event, one in Matthew, one in Luke and briefly
in John. Charles Fillmore discusses the event in his writings collected in Keep
A True Lent. And Elizabeth Sand Turner and Ernest Wilson write about it. So
today, having read all that, we’ll talk about it and I will share what comes to
me about this event. Last year we focused on the colt that Jesus rode. This
year I want to focus on the idea that the whole event was about honoring
Jesus and what that means spiritually, metaphysically for us on our journey.
Let’s begin with some context for this procession. Jesus came from Bethany,
from the house of Mary and Martha and Lazarus, recently raised from the
dead. We are at the end of his ministry time and it is well-known that many
factions in the Jewish church and Roman government would like for him to be
gone. Mary and Martha’s house is a kind of safe haven. They are friends.
People in that area have witnessed the miracle of Lazarus’ healing and are
now supportive of Jesus. So each night during holy week, Jesus would return
to this haven and each day he would journey into the populous but dangerous
town of Jerusalem. It is a distance of about 2 miles. At this point in his
ministry, people who were interested in him followed him everywhere. Kind of
early paparazzi. So on this day in advance of the celebration of Passover,
Jesus and his posse of disciples set out for Jerusalem. By the time he gets
the colt and gets to town, a crowd has gathered. Perhaps not the numbers we
might imagine but a group of followers with an enthusiasm and passion that
made some people nervous.
What were these people celebrating? I invite you to imagine that someone has
brought you information that can free you from the pain of illness, the distress
of emotional turmoil and conflict and the poverty of lack. It is not really a
stretch of the imagination to think of these conditions as prevalent in our lives
and the life of the world around us. But YOU have been given the key to
freedom. You have witnessed or heard the stories of healings that defy
understanding. You have heard the stories of abundance that came out of
nowhere and you have heard the parables and wisdom about loving one
another and loving a God you may still only partially understand. There is no
judgment in this man’s teachings and they say ANYONE can benefit by
following his advice. Some say he is the Messiah, prophesized in the bible but
if you are gentile or pagan that may not have a lot of relevance for you. But
these teachings! YOU have the capacity to be healed, forgiven, prospered and
set free. This is pretty heady stuff! If any of this is part of your awareness
now, I invite you to remember that first awakening. The first time you began
to really hear and understand these teachings. That feeling, that excitement
is what these people were experiencing.
Now what the crowd did in each account was interesting. They took off their
coats and they cut branches from the trees, palm trees in one account, and
laid them on the ground in front of Jesus. Jesus was no longer in contact
with the earth, not even through the feet of the donkey.
Let’s look a little deeper into what that might mean. Charles Fillmore in the
Revealing Word says that “palm trees” represent “realizations in the physical
of unlimited resources of strength”. In Keep A True Lent he says that the
actions of the crowd represent the “obedience and homage that all thoughts in
consciousness give when error states of mind are overcome.”
This procession for me is a realization and celebration of the part of us that is
free from only seeing appearances and only understanding what we see and
hear and touch. Jesus represents the divinity within each of us; what Unity
calls the Christ of our being. Jesus is no longer in contact with the earth. He
has mastered the potentially unruly and untamed little colt. Our divinity can
know the Truth that is greater than the appearances of our world and our
divinity allows us to master those beliefs and emotional reactions that keep us
limited, in fear and lack. Each time we get a glimpse of the power and
mastery of our divinity, there is a party in our mind. There is a celebration
that there really IS an unlimited resource of strength and wisdom and love
available to us. With each celebration we become more of who we were
created to be: teachers, healers and peacemakers.
Now in Luke it mentions that all this celebrating disturbed the Pharisees.
Fillmore says the Pharisees represent those who observe the letter of religious
law with no understanding of the spirit and the Truth. These are the people
who go to church on Sunday, do exactly what they think they have to, but in
their hearts they loath their neighbor; they judge harshly, even themselves;
and they lack a joy and zeal for life. What happens when you begin to glimpse
understandings of the power of your connection to Spirit? First there are
those thoughts in your mind that begin to shout that it can’t be real, it can’t
be so. There are all the rules and old beliefs about what you SHOULD do and
be; and all the ways you believe there are so many things WRONG with you.
But the seed is planted. A voice, perhaps small at first, begins to say, I AM
the child of an infinitely wonderful creator. I DO inherit all the good available
to me and all the characteristics and power of that infinite creator. Wait a
minute Pharisees, I AM the expression of the Divine Infinite!
Then the Pharisees around us may begin to speak up. How do people react
when you speak confidently about your ability to heal? Your ability to prosper
in tough economic times? Your ability to stand without fear for what you
believe is true and right? Your ability to make changes in your life? Some
people become uncomfortable. They may criticize or counsel against your
actions or even call you foolish. They try to silence the voice within you. Yet
in Luke, Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ request to make his disciples be
quiet by saying, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out."
Once we have a glimpse of the Truth, there is no going back. Once we have
our feet on that path, it is hard for that part of our being to truly be silenced.
The palm procession is about honoring the divinity of our being; the Christ of
our being. Webster says that “to honor” means to give special recognition to.
How do we honor the Christ of our being? I have 3 basic steps to try.
Acknowledge, Connect and Act.
Every morning ACKNOWLEDGE that there is something within you that is
greater than the way your body feels, the things on your calendar, and the
circumstances as you view your life and world. In work at Silent Unity we
always acknowledge, “It is not I but the Christ within who does the work”. We
can teach, we can heal, we can prosper, we can create peace but it is not our
personality or our endeavors alone that create anything lasting and true. It is
our divinity, the Christ of our being.
CONNECT as often as you can with that Source of wisdom, love, peace and
abundance. Connect in prayer, in silence, in meditation, in listening for the
still small voice, in awareness of your Oneness with all that is. In a single
moment, in every moment, connect THROUGH the Christ of your being.
ACT FROM the Christ of your being. As you become aware of this higher self,
this infinite resource available to you, begin to follow ITS guidance. Our 5th
principle says it is not enough to know the Truth, we have to live it. We do not
honor the Christ of our being if we only hear the truth in our heads and we do
not act upon it.
Honoring the Christ is not just for one day, not just for one Sunday in the
year. Maybe you want to keep a leaf from your palm in plain sight as a
reminder to honor your divinity every day. You can tape it to a card that says
Acknowledge, Connect and Act. Or you can figure out what meaning honoring
your divinity has for you. I invite you to consider that when John says,
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord”, he means YOU!
Now as we prepare for our time of meditation, I invite you to join in singing
Surely The Presence.