Palm of the Hand… March 24, 2013

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Breathlessly, the young tyke ran up to me, thrusting a palm branch in my face, screeching, “Come on! Join us!”

I took it from his hands as he quickly ran away and I watched his retreating form, wondering what it was like to be so young, energetic and completely overtaken by joy.

I was curious, which is the best I could do at my age. I had heard a lot about the young Nazarene preacher and even had a cousin who knew a friend who was acquainted with  a fellow who claimed to have been healed of leprosy by the mob-proclaimed miracle worker. My cousin was rather dubious about whether such a transformation had actually occurred, thinking perhaps it was merely one of those remissions common to the disease. Or perhaps a hysteria that had merely been exposed. But still … I was curious.

I was not one to become quickly duped or overtaken by fits of emotion or passing fancies. As I stared at the palm branch in my hand, I was suddenly surrounded by a horde of adoring folk, mostly women and young children, making their way down the road toward the gates of the city.

I decided to follow at a distance, to learn more. For after all, I had enough dissatisfaction in my soul to wander from the common, acceptable procedures, to peruse the thinkings and aspirations beyond the normal scope. I wasn’t normally a participant, but rather, a student. So on this day, I was out on a studious hike, to learn the ways of a crowd in the midst of an exciting journey into the big city.

Yet I was careful. Trooping along with them, I noticed that the religious leaders were standing at a distance, expressing their disapproval, some even scoffing. The Roman soldiers were less offended, but treated it as a lark, or, if you will, a bit of comic farce. It was a bit humorous. Peasants marching along with palm branches instead of swords, following a vagabond minister who was bouncing on a small donkey, unarmed, with a pleasant smile spread across his face. He was innocent, inane and dangerous, all at the same time.

I suddenly discovered myself lagging behind, careful not to appear as if I were part of the reverent masses. I gingerly fingered the palm branch so as to appear to be an observer rather than a worshipper.

I caught a glimpse of the young boy who had given me the present and had encouraged me to join the flock. He motioned for me to move forward and become part of the procession. I smiled at him–so beautifully youthful and idealistic. Yet my feet, which had begun to delay further motion, now completely stalled.

It seems I had decided. Let them parade without me.

I was curious–but just not enticed. And most definitely not prepared for the condemnation that might be awaiting these creatures of adoration when they reached the gates of the city.

Unsettling times–and certainly no season to take undue risk.

I turned on my heel and headed home. I stared down at the palm in my hand. I lifted it to my nose and smelled the pungent fragrance. And then … I let it fall to the ground.

The further I walked away the less I could hear, and the less I heard, the more distant it became in my consciousness. I made a decision.

Not today.

I would salve my curiosity in some other fashion. Maybe listen in on one of the young man’s talks. Maybe question some of his disciples on his stance on issues. Maybe wait for the religious leaders to draw their determinations and glean wisdom from their experience.

Or maybe just wait for the next time. Yes.  The next time.

I was nearly home when I concluded that the next time I saw the Galilean in the street, in the midst of such a jubilant march, I would join in.

I would be bold. I would grab my palm branch and in my own way, celebrate the moment.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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