John 12:13-15 (NIV) They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
As I sat in the sanctuary this past Palm Sunday I reflected on how this holy day might shape a sharing I hoped to make. I wanted to inform and inspire my fellow congregants about creation care and Christian missions. I also wanted to invite prayer for the fast approaching April 6 & 7, 2018 conference on those very two essentials. Many hands , including some from Care of Creation, had helped plan and prepare “Creation Care at the Frontiers of Missions“.
Of course within Missions we find the Gospel, within the Gospel we find creation care, within creation care we find climate care, and – it clicked suddenly – within Palm Sunday we find creation. In the original triumphal entry of Jesus on his journey, creation aided, welcomed and celebrated Jesus.
God saw fit to have Jesus ride a donkey’s colt, an animal member of creation. God inspired people to take up palm branches, plant members of creation. God drew people, the pinnacle of God’s creation, to shout praises and blessings. Unmentioned and unheralded, yet perhaps more essentially, God had air surround Him, earth support Him, and sun illuminate him.
Whatever other layers of symbolism and meaning, God used creation to honor and celebrate Jesus on his journey. In doing so God elevated, honored and celebrated creation. Can we remember to do no less – to not only honor and celebrate Jesus with creation but, while doing so, to honor and celebrate God’s very gift of creation? This Easter season can we gratefully celebrate God’s gift of salvation in Christ’s sacrifice as we also thankfully care for God’s gift of creation with which he cared for Jesus and cares for us.
You are beyond bound and measure, yet you are immediately close and caring through the gift of your creation as our common home. As we come again to old stories and old celebrations, as we pause with ears to hear, you can and do speak afresh.
May we hear and see how You filled Jesus’ Palm Sunday triumphal entry into Jerusalem with your love, your mercy and your creation. In doing so may we see your loving reminders to honor and celebrate Jesus and to honor and celebrate creation itself. In the marvelous gift of creation may we recognize what you love, may we appreciate how you give what you love to those you love, and may we realize that you call all of us whom you love to care for and cherish all that you love. May we do so with wisdom and discernment in our actions that affect plant and animal, air and earth, water and climate.
(A version of this prayer meditation and reflection on creation care, climate change and Palm Sunday appeared in the Climate Caretakers prayer Newsletter of March 27, 2018)