palm-trees-322236_1280Yesterday was Palm Sunday. I love watching the kids come down the aisle at church waving palm branches as we sing Hosanna. It’s such a lovely, joyous service that means Easter is almost here!

But there’s a good deal that happens between singing Hosanna and Up From the Grave He Arose. Holy Week unfolds like a well-crafted novel.

The story opens on Palm Sunday with our hero riding into town as the people cheer and spread palm branches and even their cloaks on the ground. Here comes the king!

Then we have several days of Jesus in Jerusalem, teaching, healing, seeming to take his rightful place in the hearts and minds of the people. Hurrah! Except. The  Sadducees and Pharisees are grumbling. The scene moves to a private meal between Jesus and his disciples. It’s a special time when he demonstrates the kind of servant leadership he expects from them by washing their feet. It’s also when Jesus reveals that one of them will betray him while another will deny him. A little heavy in terms of foreshadowing, but effective.

And then we have a dramatic scene in a garden at night. What is this cup Jesus so fervently hopes he won’t have to drink? Why is he so determined to drink it if he must? Before we know the answer, guards appear led by the betrayer Judas. Jesus has been captured. Dare we hope he will escape?

It’s Good Friday now, our hero is being tried and beaten. There’s no evidence against him and yet he’s found guilty–sentenced to death. He’s crucified–not because he did anything wrong, but because we did. All hope is lost. Except. Didn’t our hero predict that he would be killed? And didn’t he claim he would return? Could there be a way out of this mess?

Several days of tense waiting ensue . . .

Then it’s Sunday morning. Easter. And the plot takes the most amazing turn. Jesus is alive! The anticipation peaks and gives way to relief, to joy, to abiding peace.

What a story! What an incredible, breath-taking, roller coaster ride of a love story. One I love hearing again and again.