Jimmy Buffett is a balding 73-year-old musician whose Coral Reefer Band is mostly made up of AARP members who don’t show up on the jumbotron and a couple of dancers in their twenties who are regularly featured on the gigantic screen. Most people in the crowd have been to multiple concerts. Grown-ups wear parrot noses, parrot heads, shark fins, straw hats, flowered shirts, and hula skirts. They know the words and sing along.
Beach balls fly through the air. On their way to the concert, fans think, “I like it when we play with beach balls. I’ll stop and buy one.” They do this knowing there is no chance that they will be bringing their beach ball home. Once they launch it at the concert, it’s not coming back. They buy the beach balls to contribute to the party.
When you know you’re going to die soon, you can start the funeral early—which can be the right choice—or you can throw a party to celebrate all the good you’ve known. Jesus decides to throw a party. As he enters the city, people throw coats and branches in front of his colt. If they had confetti, they would have thrown it. They know the words and sing along: Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! (v. 9).
Palm Sunday is a good day to open ourselves to exuberance—to sing along, dance, and pretend to be younger than we are. Wave some greenery. Shout “Hosanna,” “Hallelujah,” and “Yay!”
We plan, program, process, work, worry, argue, and disagree. We do not laugh enough. We need to sing and smile. We need to do something fun. This is a great day to give thanks for God’s joy.
How can you cut loose and celebrate?
God of hope, God of love, God whom we adore, help us give ourselves over to joy. Teach us to share the gladness of your presence. Amen.