The Letter “S”

March 28, 2010

Today is Palm Sunday when all the little kids line up with palm leaves and lead the congregation in singing “psalms.” Suddenly Sr. Wantabee realized the difference between “palm” and “psalm” is that funny letter “s.” Because of the “s” the “p” becomes kinda silent and of course, the meaning changes. That “s” could stand for sincerity, songs, sin and savior, she realized.

On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus walking into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week, his last week. The people upon seeing him coming, stripped palms from trees and laid them on the road along with their coats for the donkey he was riding, to walk over. They cried out a psalm, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” They thought that he was coming as the messiah to chase out the Romans. By the end of the week, their chant had changed to “crucify him.” They wanted the pain and discomfort the Romans caused in their life to be removed and when he did not miraculously change their lives their psalm changed. How like today. We want God to be Santa Clause and if the pain or discomfort is not resolved, does our psalm change to bitterness and disappointment in God? What is my level of sincerity today? Can I sing in the pain or do I praise for the removal of pain?

Also it has become very awkward in American culture to talk about Jesus without thinking the “s” of sin. We want to be saved without having to go through personal introspection to see our wrongs, our sins. We welcome a savior but have trouble with the cross. Can I use the “s” word and say I am a sinner and need salvation?

Lastly the “savior” word implies saving, and we tend to want “What a friend we have in Jesus.” Saving from Hell – it doesn’t start with “s” but for sure we think God would never be so mean as to send someone to Hell…or allow the person to choose Hell.

There is a big difference between palm and psalm. Do I wave the palm until it brings pain (sincerity)? Do I sing hosana even when things aren’t going my way? Can I admit I am a sinner and need a savior? sigh. this is a heavy week.