I wasn’t really prepared for what I walked into in yesterday’s Palm Sunday service.
I mean, I was. It’s been relatively the same service each year since I’ve attended this church. And not in a bad way.
The cast of the Easter play the church puts on every year reenact the triumphal entry with the kids in the front. There’s always the little girl mesmerized by the people in the audience who haven’t been out there in all the rehearsals. There are the little boys who wap each other with their palm branches and their mothers can’t get to them until the lights go down, so their reveling in the freedom.
It was beautiful to observe the reenactment of the joy of Israel. The celebration of their long awaited messiah arrived at last! But paring that with the tragedy of what was to come.
They would reject God because he had not come in the way they thought. He would be condemned and killed to atone for the sin of the world but then rise again in glory.
And yet the people of God missed this. So often I miss this.
See, on walking into the service, I became hyper aware of all the young families sitting around me. And also heavily aware of my longing for my own family one day.
I think in the feeling of longing, we’re tempted into our own pity party. I could have sat there questioning why. Why wasn’t I dating anyone? Why were so many people around me getting married? Why couldn’t I be one of them?
In the asking of ‘Why,’ the answer I tend to always gravitate towards tends to be that God is holding out on me. That God is not good.
My Eve-and-Israel heart spirals into discontent and bitterness starts to grow. I reject the beautiful character of God and totally miss what he may be trying to do in my life and the lives of those around me.
Sitting in the service, my heart was being pulled into what could be, but I was being called into a greater narrative.
And perhaps this was exaggeratedly pronounced yesterday morning. But in entering into that tension, I was entering into a beautiful time experiencing the character of God with his people.
I’ve said before that longing is an invitation to experience what we truly long for.
Yes, I may long for a family and someone to share the joys and struggles of that with. Yes, I want to give as well as feel that kind of love. But I’m being invited into a deeper and more beautiful love. All my needs have and will be met by the larger story I am beckoned into.
I can let my own longing try to feed itself, or I can look to the source that satisfies all hunger.
And that is the point of the passion week we are entering into. We mourn how sin and the desire for things to be our own way separated us from God. We celebrate how he came to fill the unmet longings and bring us into relationship with Him.
May you seek fulfillment in Jesus in this passion week.