A parade of palms

A parade of palms

Each year Christians celebrate Palm Sunday on the Sunday before Easter. On this day we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event documented in all four Gospels. In many churches, palm branches are distributed to remind us of the branches that were laid on the ground in front of Jesus as he rode into town. Those who do not have easy access to such branches often use boughs from other native trees in their area.

Traditions from around the world

People have been observing Palm Sunday since the ninth century. Across the globe, celebrations of this holiday have taken many different forms. In several countries Christians take the festivities to the streets, waving branches as spiritual leaders process down the main roads in town. In Poland they host competitions of crafts made from artificial palms. Indian Orthodox churches scatter flowers in their sanctuaries as the gospel story is read. Finnish children dress up and go door to door asking for coins and candy while waving willow branches and giving Easter blessings.

A call to humility

While Palm Sunday celebrations can be exciting and rather elaborate, it is also a day that reminds us of Jesus’ humility. Jesus’ rode into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey. The grand parade shows how the citizens regarded him as royalty. He was considered to be the King of the Jews. However, most kings would have entered town riding a majestic horse. Instead, Jesus chose a donkey, a symbol of his humility.

It’s not all about me

Brain research indicates that young adolescents engage in self-oriented thought when making decisions. As they mature into young adulthood, they begin to use the area of the brain associated with the perspectives of others. We can help teens make the shift from me-centered thinking to others-centered thinking by talking about — and modeling — Jesus' example of humble servanthood that he exhibited not just on Palm Sunday but throughout his entire ministry.

Question of the day: If Jesus entered your community today, how would the people respond?
Focal Scriptures: Zechariah 9:9-13; Matthew 21:1-11; Philippians 2:1-11

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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