I stretch out on the blue carpet in front of the family room fireplace, palms up. And I beg God to let me feel the pain, to identify with what Jesus experienced as spikes seared his flesh. But as I wait in the stillness, I sense these words.

“It is finished. Done. Over. Paid for and paid up. I took the pain so you don’t need to.”

I weep for the grace of it.

Shortly after this, D gets the call to move to Florida. I turn myself over on that blue carpet, stretch out, palms down, and dig my nails into its plush fibers. I love this newly-decorated house, my yard, my friends, my church, and my accolade-laden doings.

I plop down in the back pine island, in a pile of dry needles, my version of ashes.

And I weep for the pain of it.

Then I pick myself up, dust myself off, and write in my journal.

Surely God can be found among the palms as well as the pines.

That move is pain-filled, yet oh so grace-filled. (But that’s another story.)

I think about all this on Sunday when we each receive a palm frond, while the children march around the sanctuary, as our pastor encourages us to make some noise. Because that day, the day Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, it was loud.

I think about that palm parade and the cloaked carpet rolled out before Him as came astride a donkey.

How He stripped Himself of His royal robe to clothe Himself with human flesh. Now the people shed their earthly robes and lay them at His feet.

I think about the crowd that jostled close, and I see Him wave and touch. But before the week ends they’ll strip Him naked. He’ll stretch wide those quivering blood-stained palms to embrace the world, this lamb slain before its foundation.

And it is finished. Done. Over. Paid for and paid up.

Jesus told the parable about a Pharisee who came to the temple full of self with hope in the wrong foundation, and he left hopeless. About a tax collector who came to the temple humble and hopeless, who stripped himself of all pretense, admitted his guilt, begged for mercy, and left with hope. (Luke 18:9-14)

And I think it’s when our earthly foundations crumble, when we cut the nails that dig into the fibers of foolish pride, when we shed the robe of self and wrap ourselves to the foundation of a splintered, blood-soaked cross and an empty tomb, it’s then that He clothes us with Himself, and hope runs in rivers of Rahab red.

I dream of waving palms before the throne.

And breathe in the truth that though we hail with palms, He heals with His.

I raise my arms, stretch out my palms.

And I weep for the grace of it.










in which i stretch out my palms

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 2 min