Monday, April 11, 2011

Palm Sunday and Friendship

Slowly now, we approach Jerusalem, following Jesus in our journey through Lent. Next weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday, the remembrance of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, hailed and adored by crowds so glad to see him that they line the path before him with palms. Crowds that will nevertheless desert him once he is arrested.

How steadfast are we to our friends? How far will we go to support them? Are we there only for the celebrations, or will we stay nearby when challenges arise? When Jesus says to his disciples to pray that they not be tested, he speaks words of profound wisdom.

Palm Sunday reminds me that friendships are covenants not to be easily discarded. We revel in our friendships at weddings, baptisms, parties, celebrations. We lean on our friends at funerals, during job losses, through heartbreaks, and in ill health. While friendships may stumble at times, if we persevere, seeking to emulate Jesus’ steadfast and persistent love for us, we reap the benefits of enduring affection, support, laughter and honesty. Friendship expands and solidifies through the threads of old conversations, new memories, fresh wit, and faithful companionship.

In the presence of a good friend, we find the God within, the Spirit that binds humanity to each other. This treasure, beyond what the eye can see or the ear can hear, deep within our hearts, gives interest and meaning to our lives. Friends help us unravel the complicated textures of our lives to find the worthwhile, the essential, the truth.

Palm Sunday reminds me to look into my past this week to discover if there are old friends I may have neglected lately. Is there any way I could do better in my friendships? What must I do to renew connections, and bolster relationships? Have I cheered my friends as the crowds cheer for Jesus? Is my affection strong enough to endure the crosses in my friends’ lives? The process fills me with hope as indeed Jesus’ presence in Jerusalem did 2000 years ago, and still does today.

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