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Stepping into Holy Week…Thinking out loud while I walk

March 26, 2018

This is the week I make every attempt to stop and be still. To meditate more, pray more, express more patience, kindness and love, and to be quite honest, just try very hard to put myself in the place where Jesus walked more than 2000 years ago.

We have movies that have helped us visualize that, a book that writes out the narrative and services (and more services) to help us stop, sit, and be still.

What if that is not enough? Write. Journal. Post. Bring yourself to a level of thought and prayer that you never have before. That, my friend, is what this Holy Week is for.   I’m putting my thoughts on paper to help me process all of the chaos that is going on inside of my head and heart. I truly believe if we offer the opportunity for God to fill our head and heart He will and I need to read what is floating up in there to possibly understand, process and practice it.

Day 1- Palm Sunday-Strength in the walk

Palm Trees are one of my favorite trees. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to get to travel through Florida. I spent much time admiring and standing in awe studying these creations of such variety of stature, strength and simplicity. Some palm trees can grow more than 100 feet in height, yet they have been placed in the threat area of the most massive, powerful, and destructive storm: hurricanes. How is it that the palm tree survives that powerful force of pummeling? If you’ve ever stood and watched a palm tree through a storm you will see that it bends a great deal. It is not unforgivingly rigid and is far from fragile.

Palm trees sway and bend, not allowing even the strongest of wind storms to snap them from their foundation. They signify a place of relaxation, peace and happiness, are simple in beauty yet superior in strength. Their branches/leaves withstand the most treacherous of conditions.

All of this seems so insignificant to spend time pondering, unless you remember what happened on this day….

More than 2000 years ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem greeted by countless “fans” who were waving palm branches in admiration, showing respect for one they “knew” was a gift from God. He was the star of the red carpet, the hero of the hour, the celebrity entering their corner of the world. He soaked it in, reciprocated the compassion, all the while knowing that the same crowds that were celebrating Him today would turn on him in a very short time. The same crowds that were shouting Hosanna (an expression of adoration, praise and joy) would soon be shouting, “Crucify him”.   He would endure the most treacherous of beatings. He would bend, bow, be pummeled, but not break. He would hit His knees in prayer, only to not have them answered. He would be turned in by his friend, denied by another, and abandoned by the rest. He would hold his tongue when He could have said so much to attempt to defend himself. He would stay the course knowing that in the end, in the very painful and brutal end, He would save lives by offering His own. I dearly love and respect quite a few men and women who live like that, and even more that I have never met. I see people every day hold their tongue and avoid conflict when they could shame another. I know there are those who have stepped in the line of fire to protect the life of another with absolutely nothing to gain. Have you been on the painful end of disloyalty, dishonesty, and betrayal? Have you known one to be nice to your face and talk about you, plan against you, secure your demise, behind your back?

I have.

I will again.

My thoughts today lead me to those times and it hurts.

My comfort today is that He gets it, and He has left me lesson plans on how to handle it.

Bend but do not break.

Appreciate and savor every moment, but know the next may be a trial.

Know that your pain, your trials, your storms are understood by One who has “been there and walked that”, by One who will never stop short of validating how important your life, your heart, your trials, and how hard the pummeling of life is.

Stay the path. You are not walking it alone.  You’re walking it in the presence of one who knows the grating strain of the journey.

He stayed the path knowing we would have the opportunity to set foot on ours with the choice to walk with Him. He didn’t walk His path to be celebrated; He walked His path to bring people to His Father and to what He clearly declared as “paradise”.

Today He was greeted and celebrated with what appeared to be an easy to acquire branch from what appeared to be an insignificant tree…..but as I stood at the base of this tree that embodied strength, flexibility, endurance, and simple beauty, and thought about this “today” more than 2000 years ago, I believe, once again, there was no coincidence.

This walk will require us to weather storms, come face to face with those who will deceive us, stand strong in the winds of deception and trials, and most of all, to bend but not break. We are not to look to be celebrated as we walk, but rather to be strengthened by the walk knowing that we have the choice to call on the strength of the One who walked it first to be within, around, and beside us, just as He did from His Father for His walk.

May we be more sincere, more truthful, more supportive, more compassionate, less judgmental, less short tempered, less unappreciative today, tomorrow, and through the rest of our walk.

Wishing you peace,

Terri O’Neill-Borders


Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

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