Reflections on Palm Sunday

(Guest Blogger Tom shares his reflections on Palm Sunday with words and pictures--he has a great way with both.

I am such a knuckle-dragging Christian.  I revere Easter, and know that as night precedes the dawn, Palm Sunday precedes Easter by exactly one week.   But somehow or other this morning, I went to church clueless that today is Palm Sunday.  The day the Jesus entered Jerusalem astride a donkey, proceeding over branches and palm leaves, fulfilling the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. This is the beginning of Holy Week, or Semana Santa in Spanish.   

This morning's realization that this is Palm Sunday overtook me like a
blessed breakthrough in the clouds,
a fresh and gathering tailwind,
a bouquet of sweet chaparral along a rough hilly trail.
I've had a glow inside me ever since.  

And in the bargain, I've been chrono-transported to a Palm Sunday I relished four years back on a Cirrus getaway trip we took to Alamos, in mainland Mexico.  My wife and daughter were sleeping in, and while they reposed, I struck out on my own meandering the byways of the small Spanish colonial pueblo, a town from Mexico's silver mining past. You may well recall seeing these images before, but they are ever appropriate to this day.

This is hilly country, and from a bluff along the edge of town, you can look down on the community, including its lovely stone iglesia, or church, adjoining the zocalo, or central square.  I wish to call your attention to a small door, at ground level, near the far lefthand edge of the church, below another overhead door higher up on the wall, and all of this to the left of the lower white dome.  To the right, in front of the bell tower are the trees of the zocalo.  

Zocalos are important parts of the cultural life of these small Mexican pueblos—areas of congregation and socializing.  It's where young teens ambulate, circulating around the square, boys and girls walking in opposite directions to check each other out, and older folks congregate to talk, parents allow young children to safely run and play.  

This picture is early morning, and as I strode from our splendid lodging toward the zocalo, I came to the side door, referred to above, and here was a young child in her vestments, dancing to her own internal song, joyously savoring another gorgeous Spring morning.  I managed to take her photo just as she realized she was not alone.

Centuries' old bells waiting to call the faithful to the morning's special service. And the padre, intoning "La palabra de Dios." Crowds gathering on the raised court surrounding the church, palm fronds held high, about to initiate the processional into the sanctuary.

And during all this time, two young lads—and all—hand crafting crosses out of palm fronds. Spiderman shirt, "See, if you twist and tie it like this, you get this really cool cross..."

A smile to warm the hearts of the most jaded or cynical.  

zocalo replete with a wonderful gazebo.

By now, you must know how gaga I am over color.Tropical Mexico is vibrant with nature's color, and that of the people.  Their joy of life, and the colors of their homes, their clothing, their music, their food.  

Palms and color, and, of course, the cross. The symbol of Rome's gruesome power, and Jesus' horrific death, turned symbol of eternal life.

And days come to an end, replaced by an afterglow leading to stars and moonlight.  If you're one of my pilot friends, this is just a few hours south of the border.  If you are not, well, it's a bit more of a travel odyssey, but well worth the visit. I wish you all the best throughout this Holy Week. 


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