A Lenten Journey… by Sonna Evans

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 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.’” John 12:12-19

There is a book I love to read every year during Lent called ‘Small Surrenders’ by Emilie Griffin. I have read it almost every year for the past several years, appreciating how it prepares my heart and mind for Easter Sunday, celebrating and remembering the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus.

Today is Palm Sunday. It is significant because it is a reminder of the day Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem one week before His crucifixion; when He was welcomed and worshipped to fulfill the prophecy written of him in Zechariah 9:9,

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

It was the practice of that time period to throw clothes or small branches down before someone worthy of great respect when they entered the city; to pay homage. The palm branches symbolized peace and victory, while riding on a donkey represented humility and peace. What a perfect entry for our Lord; humility, peace and victory.

A fantastic scene! I love the idea of Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem just days before his crucifixion, receiving some of the honor He is due. That is my Lenten surrender. To give to Jesus the honor He is due.

I did not grow up celebrating Lent, but I have fully embraced the season as an adult. Practicing small surrenders during this time of year to refocus and refresh my walk with God has been so meaningful. Emilie Griffin uses quotes from others who have walked this journey; who give their insights and encouragement to set this time aside for reflection and remembrance. I know I need this in my life.

These days our lives can so quickly get bogged down with to-do lists and busyness. Add to that the pressure I have experienced in our Christian culture to do “big” things for God. Griffin relates,

“We fantasize about mountaintop experiences. But most of the Christian stories give scant support for this. In the Gospels at least, Jesus appears in ordinary circumstances. He is visiting…He is walking along the road…he is…with friends, or crossing the water on a fishing boat. The parables Jesus teaches are filled with metaphors from ordinary experience.”

So this is where the practice of “small surrenders” has spoken the loudest to me. It is in the small things, the ordinary, and the mundane that I can see and follow the example of Jesus as I am …just living the thing.

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