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Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week as we walk through some of the most significant events that led to the anchor of our faith, Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. But like most annual celebrations, it is easy to forget the significance of this historic date and its connection to our present reality. Palm Sunday is more than something Jesus did; it teaches us how we can posture ourselves today.

Jesus' influence was won through his impact, not forced through his authority. Jesus rides in on a donkey, but the people celebrate him as royalty. It's not the pomp and circumstance that draws the people's celebratory shouts and thankful acknowledgments. Instead, the people celebrate how Jesus impacted their lives. They are shouting "Hosanna," translated as "Please, save us," because they've witnessed God saving them through the work of Jesus. What the law and religious rites were powerless to do, Jesus did! Jesus didn't have to force the people to acknowledge who he was or what he'd done; they did that freely to respond to who he'd been to them. When we impact people's lives for the better, our authority becomes unnecessary because we've earned the trust that influences from a place of love.

Jesus' interdependence allowed for others to fulfill their purpose in the story. Independence is overrated. Jesus could've gone into Bethany and got his own colt. Untied it. And put a blanket over it. But think about it this way - a week later, the very ones who had to watch him die also had the memory of helping him be celebrated. The disciples went and got the donkey that Jesus rode on. They prepared it for his processional. They celebrated his work and had the opportunity to give him his flowers while he was with them. Palm Sunday became part of their story. Living in community is not just about what you do for others, it is also about what you allow others to do for you.

Jesus came to save us even if we misjudge the route He will take to do it. The disciples were not aware of what the next week would hold. They didn't know the allegations that would be hurled against their Rabbi. If anyone deserved to ride in on a horse, with all the majesty and authority that comes with that, it was Jesus. After all, raising dead children, healing lepers, and feeding thousands of people should come with some perks. Instead, he chose the route of great humility, a road that couldn't be used against him later. No one could accuse him of being arrogant, egotistical, or majestic- at least not justifiably. Jesus wasn't just without fault; he lived a life that made it impossible for others to fault him as well. Don't be disgruntled with the route Jesus is taking; he knows what is on the other side of this turn. The route you are on may be necessary to keep you from getting tripped up later.

Every year, Palm Sunday reminds us how quickly things can turn. This year, maybe we think about things that have to happen before we look to celebrate what might occur next week. This week, use your influence to make an impact before turning to your authority. Remember that interdependence is a blessing; let others in on your story. Lastly, trust God with your route; he knows what to help you avoid today that someone would like to use against you tomorrow.

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I didn’t listen to my first mind.

This morning I woke up

Knowing it was July 4th

And how triggering

This day could be for me

I thought about taking a

Break from social media today.

I didn’t listen to my first mind.

I came across a post

With the necessary

And reckoning words

From Frederick Douglass,

“What, to the Slave,

Is the 4th of July?’

As I read it, I thought,

how deranged

One must be

To feel their freedom

Can only be secured

By taking it away

From someone else?

Then I read a post

that said

“Liberty and Justice for All”

The caption asked me

To celebrate a country

That has spent more time

Taking away "liberty and justice"

From people like me

Then it has spent giving it.

I didn’t listen to my first mind.

Lastly, I ran across a post.

Praying for this country.

I thought, well, maybe this time.

Maybe this post.

The prayer talked about

This country losing sight of its first love

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

I'm so glad this country has

Lost sight of putting legalities

In place to dehumanize me.

Well, at least to the

Level that it once did.

I didn’t listen to my first mind.

Then I thought

"Paula, we're going with our first mind!"

Today I celebrate my ancestors

who bought my freedom,

with their blood,

and who were bold enough

to take the rights

others tried to deny us.

And remember the oppression

That is born out of fear

and a demented

sense of self

Always has an expiration date.

And in the meantime,

We're going to keep fighting

For those who continue to suffer

Before the time is up

So today,

Because I dared to look,

I focus not so much

On the ideals this country has yet to realize

But I choose to focus on Psalm 103: 6,

"The Lord works

righteousness and justice

for all the oppressed."

And I chose to look and

See the hurting of others,

The oppression that exists,

The injustice that still prevails

And join with God in that work.

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Overwhelmed. In describing how I felt after hearing the Supreme Court’s decisions this week, I describe myself as overwhelmed. In our country, it seems that we receive negative news every day. Caring has become a full-time job, and I'm officially quitting. After this week of judicial decisions, I have come up with three reasons in defense of my resignation.

1. I get to be a skeptic! When we don’t care, we go through life without hoping for anything better. As a skeptic, I wouldn’t look for justice for people who don’t have access to tutors, standardized testing courses, and legacy benefits. I can resign myself to knowing that when you work hard, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to have better. I get to resign myself to always being behind and never being able to fulfill all the things that God has placed in me to leave this world better than I found it. When I don’t care, I don’t have to hope or work for the better.

2. I can live a boring life. When we care about ourselves and our society, we work to make things better. This brings adventures and opportunities that I can forego when I decide not to care. I protect myself from the excitement of changing voting laws that make the ballot box available to everyone. I won’t see the next generation enter careers previously off-limits to them. And I can resign myself to not living in a neighborhood that doesn’t want me there. When I give up caring, I can succumb to living a boring life, reaching for only what is put in front of me by someone else.

3. I get to give up my humanity. The ability to feel is one of the greatest gifts God gave us in distinguishing us from other parts of creation, but those feelings come with complications. The possibility of feeling the satisfaction of making the world more just for somebody else is reason enough to not not care. Hoping that doing justice results in a more diverse world is reason enough to not not care. And to hang on to the best parts of humanity that are present in each of us is reason enough to not not care.

We’ve been given plenty of reasons not to care, but not caring requires me to give up too much of myself, and I’m unwilling to pay that. So here are three reasons not to care, but I don’t think they’re good enough reasons to stop caring!

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