Holy Week is such a microcosm of life. On Palm Sunday life was looking good for the followers of Jesus. They had come through long periods of not much happening, an occasional miracle, lots of confusion and normal life, yet always with the anticipation that something good was coming. Palm Sunday seemed to be that day. A coronation parade! They saw the goal line up ahead. Privately they had each been practicing their end zone dance.

But over the next couple of days, they began to have an ominous feeling. Jesus kept saying things that did not fit their success model. They were ready to plant their flag on the moral high ground and do a victory lap. Jesus was talking about betrayal, about the destruction of the temple, about his death. They saw sadness in his eyes instead of anticipation.

They had no idea what was ahead. But Jesus knew what happened to people who lived from the inside out, who stood up to power and spoke the truth with compassion.

rope unravelingWhat’s in this for me? For you? I have to be reminded all the time that Palm Sunday does not last. We can enjoy our Palm Sundays. In fact, we need our Palm Sundays to keep us going, to remind us to cheer and wave things in the air, because life is good. But we don’t learn things from our Palm Sundays.

When life is rosy, or palmy, we don’t pause to ask, “What should I do now? What does this mean?” We just revel. We don’t question glee. We just grab it and hold on tight.

Richard Rohr writes, “Letting go is not in anybody’s program for happiness, and yet all mature spirituality, in one sense o another, is about letting go and unlearning.” We only learn things from the days that follow Palm Sunday, that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday when our plans for success and our illusions of control slowly crumble.

Oh, I hate the time between when things beginning to unravel and whatever comes next, because there are never guarantees of what comes next. All we have is the hope that letting go works.