Matthew 21:9

Sunday, April 2
Sabrina Maggio

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
          “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
            “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
            “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

This verse is a celebratory one! I wish my students reacted like this when I walked into my classroom. Instead, I’m greeted with eye rolls and hormone-fueled apathy—the plight of any typical 7th-grade teacher. 

The coming of Jesus, however, is no eye-rolling matter. The fact that we are forgiven for our sins, that God loves us always in spite of all the sins—that is something to scream about. And while I typically despise screaming crowds (they give me anxiety), this crowd I could handle. “Yay for Jesus!” is what they’re saying. This Palm Sunday crowd is really pumped about Jesus’ arrival, and I mimic that sentiment in that I, too, am very pumped and excited and grateful for his presence in my life.

My most significant encounter with Christ’s presence started in 2013-14. My dad, a brilliant scientist, and my bestie, passed away tragically and suddenly at the age of 63. At this point in my life, I had been married three months, and was teaching at a brand-new school. I was angry at the world and at God for taking such a wonderful human from this world. But amid my grief, there was my family, my new work family, and friends who were there to comfort me. All examples of Christ’s love, even though I didn’t see it then. 

Fast forward a few years to 2018-19, still grieving, now making the biggest career transition I had ever made, and mother of a toddler. I was exhausted on all levels and had a falling out with my best friends of 20 some years. I was devastated about it.  Soon after this, Pastor Lauren Wegner invited me to Moms of Littles. At my first meeting, I definitely cried a weird amount. But, instead of judging, these women understood my fatigue and my stress in a way that no one else but a mother could. They validated me, held me up, and even though I barely knew them, they embraced me. In spite of the embarrassing amount of tears shed, and the crying that has followed since, there is no judgment and only acceptance and love. There’s nothing complicated about it…it’s so simple. If that’s not encountering the presence of Christ, I’m not sure what is. I see Jesus’ love in every interaction I have with these women. The common connection that links us is faith and how that plays out in raising our little people. Being a part of this group of beautiful humans has brought me back to church and strengthened my faith in a way I never thought possible. 

While my sweet dad is not here to see the very best part of my grown-up life, and there is nothing that can really numb that pain, the steadfast love of my family and the friendships I have built here at Grace are truly a gift. So, if I were to shout “Hosanna!” it would be based on these encounters with Christ’s love, these gifts that I promise to never take for granted, my way of shouting “Yay for Jesus!”

Loving God, thank you for all of the gifts in my life. Thank you for surrounding me with people who love me unconditionally. May everyone find their own way to shout “Alleluia!” and in doing so, may they recognize your presence and your abundant love. Amen.

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