On Sunday morning as I walk through the hallways of the church, I am reminded the walls are layered with the extraordinary hopes and overwhelming concerns of our lives. The walls stand as a witness to the high joys and costly burdens of life, which are always silent stowaways and unspoken attendants in worship.
We do not leave these concerns in the parking lot, so when we speak about faith and God to each other, we must speak with sensitivity and honesty, sensitive enough to console and honest enough to endure. We try to speak in a way that neither seeks praise nor cowers under criticism.
Words with honest sensitivity are only interested in healing and hope. They always speak with authentic conviction, but they are never spoken without sincere humility.
Upon entering the sanctuary, our eyes are drawn to the center of the room, where we find the table of communion. The room is built around the table because it is what binds us together. It is the table that welcomes us, strengthens us, and guides us. It is the meal, the bread and the cup, which speaks of God’s grace with honest sensitivity.
The table reminds us not only of our calling to faithfulness, but also of God’s faithfulness to us, for the grace of God outlives, outlasts, and outdoes everything that causes brokenness and harm.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, or also known as Passion Sunday. It is the beginning of Holy Week. It is the week which remembers the final week of Jesus’ life. We will wave palm branches in the air to celebrate, recalling Jesus riding into Jerusalem.
Along with this celebration, Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday, remembering the suffering of Jesus during Holy Week. In a single day, we can recall the high joys and deep sorrows of Jesus’ life.
It reflects our experience, where our celebrations can take place alongside our sorrows.
The events of Holy Week, though, remind us that God is always with us in both. God comes to us in our celebration and stands with us in our sadness.
Palm Sunday illuminates what takes place every Sunday when we gather around the table in the center of the room. It reminds us that we bring our extraordinary hopes and overwhelming burdens to worship. It reminds us we are never alone. We journey throughout life with others.
The table calls us to speak to each other about God and faith with honest sensitivity, sensitive enough to console and honest enough to endure.
As we sit around the table with one another, whether we are waving palm branches or mourning the suffering of Holy Week, we are called to pay attention to the joys and concerns of others. We are to look across the table and know that everyone experiences both.
We are to join hands around the table, remembering the grace of God that binds us together and relying on others because none of us is meant to do this life alone.
Dr. Tripp Martin has been the pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church since 2013. Prior to living in Auburn, he served churches in Georgia and Mississippi.