Palm trees are a sign of life – life in the most inhospitable places. They reach down to the hidden water. I’ve always thought Palm crosses symbolise so well the pain and joy, the fear and hope, the death and life that we are called to face through Holy Week.
It is so easy to wave the palms and cheer the entry of the king. It is so hard to stand by the cross knowing we are totally helpless. How attractive it is to stride from one Sunday to the next, from singing “Ride, ride in majesty” to “Jesus Christ is risen today”. But our lives are not like that.
From the nagging toothache (me being personal!) to the much more serious pains and tribulations of life we all face challenges as we journey through our lives. I’m continually amazed at how some people bear the crosses that are attached to them – the perseverance, the courage, the hope that still shines through situations that you feel should utterly crush them.
I don’t know how the human spirit does it – but perhaps, in a mysterious way beyond any explanation it is the example of the creator. Maybe it is the love that bears all things – the love expressed in a book “Love’s Endeavour, love’s expense” by Bill Vanstone which probably did more to keep the Christian vision challenging me than any other.
At the end of it there is a poem, now in our hymnbooks:
- Morning glory, starlit sky
Leaves in springtime, swallow’s flight
Autumn gales, tremendous seas,
Sounds and scents of summer night.
- Soaring music, tow’ring words,
Art’s perfection, scholar’s truth,
Joy supreme of human love,
Memory’s treasure, grace of youth.
- Open Lord, are these thy gifts;
Gifts of love to mind and sense;
Hidden in love’s agony,
Love’s endeavour, love’s expense
- Love that gives, gives ever more,
Gives with zeal, with eager hands,
Spares not, keeps not, all outpours,
Ventures all, its all expends.
- Drained is love in making full,
Bound in setting others free;
Poor in making many rich,
Weak in giving powers to be.
- Therefore he who thee reveals
Hangs, O Father, on that tree
Helpless; and the nails and thorns
Tell of what thy love must be.
- Thou art God, no monarch thou
Thron’d in easy state to reign;
Thou art God, whose arms of love
Aching, spent, the word sustain.
In the light and in the darkness we are with God. Easter Blessings.