On Palm Sunday, we remember the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, in a sort of parade or piece of street theatre.

We remember the hopeful, joyful “hosannas” yelled, and the coats and branches that were laid on the road to prepare his way, to welcome him in.

On this day, many Christians have taken up the tradition of holding our own little parade, our own street theatre, often using palm branches and palm crosses.

In the last couple of years, we have played with using cedar boughs in our celebration, to contextualize this story to this place, imagining what we might have quickly grabbed to lay before him if Jesus’ triumphal entry had been into Squamish and the Sea to Sky instead of Jerusalem.

This year and last year, we have also made our crosses out of the cedar. Crosses, like the palm crosses, that we are invited to keep throughout the year.

The act of making palm or cedar crosses tells a rich story all by itself, connecting the gospel story of the palms with the gospel story of the passion (Jesus’ death). It speaks volumes about how quickly our symbols of welcome, hospitality, acceptance and celebration can become tools of betrayal, abandonment, suffering and death.

It reminds us that every time we speak about love, mercy, and justice, but then turn our backs and harden our hearts towards the poor, the hungry, the lost, the suffering, the brutalized and abused of our world, we once again turn these branches with which we welcome in Jesus into crosses on which we crucify him.

But remember, this is not the end of the story, or of the symbol.

Because we are called to keep, to hold onto these crosses all year until Ash Wednesday, when they will be burned and turned into a sign of our penitence, and our hope. That though we have done what is wrong, we also have the ability to do what is right. To make amends, to repent, to repair, and ultimately to be redeemed through the love and grace of God.

Thanks be to God!