Meditation: Our palms, which art on Earth

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2019

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

In that small, dusty hinterland the procession began. Great anticipation started to swell, as the rumors of the coming of a great man infused the burgeoning crowd. Long-seeking relief from their occupiers’ persecutions, the mob was joyously infused with the giddy potential of deliverance to a better place.As was the custom in that place, palm branches we taken from the numerous desert trees. They were the held aloft, and waved rhythmically, as a salutation of respect; if not reverence. These actions, coupled with the shouts and cheers of those assembled must have been remarkable.

In our day, we too have our own palms. Only different in appearance, our palms are those which are attached to each of our wrists. When we wave them, or extend them in a handshake. They are open and infer a greeting. In these instances, while the tradition causation has been lost to the ages, it is generally agreed it developed to show that the palm is empty and bears no harm, or weapon.We regularly present these gestures to others, often without thinking, as our conscious customs become numbing habits. Some, barring receiving the courtesy of the custom, may become indignant, or offended. Taken to the extreme, it becomes a political statement, as when the Nazis’ required the raising of the arm and an affirming, “Heil Hitler!” This became the “normal” for that society and millions followed suit.

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So many years ago, that cheering throng who had shown their palms, began the dogged persecution of the man Christians believe is the Son of God.

They had given their hearty accolades, only to revile him so very quickly, a week later. He was stripped of his clothes and beaten nearly to death, demeaned and reviled, a murderer was released in his stead. Later, spikes were driven into his flesh, as he hung there impaled and crucified.

This part of humankind, as in ourselves, is with deeply fickle, flawed, temperaments and disbeliefs, insisting upon the tortured death of another; one who brought a message of salvation hope and eternal life.

As the cheering crowd of old, we often stand and cheer for those we perceive have value. Often, our parades are filled with like-minded humanity erupting and overflowing with transitory accolades, as we present an empty, fleeting palm of friendship. Yet, what are we doing with the other palm? It is a valid question. Whether it be something physical, or not, is hardly the point. Yes, it could be holding a knife, or gun; a malicious thought or plot. The reality is that that flawed “something,” is far more revealing about each of us, rather than the obvious. Yes, what are we doing with that other palm?

Consider exposing that hidden palm to the light of the world. Rather than imply, or need, a hidden defense, completely trusting in the will of our Creator to provide for us is the true trust in God.

Bringing the other palm around, to fully embrace another fellow sinner, is the Godly plan, and the expectation for each of us.

In the expression, and in the receipt, we are fulfilling the Promise of the Sacrifice; given for all of us.