Palm Sunday makes me miss Sudan.
Yeah, that’s an unusual statement. I realize that. But it’s true. I mentioned it again last Sunday—Palm Sunday—as we pulled out of our driveway and headed to church.
My son asked me why.
I’m not sure why.
Maybe because it was heart warming to watch the children walk the aisles with their palm branches. A lot of churches do that though.
Maybe it’s because when we lived there, my own children were young enough to join in. Watching them wave their branches and participate in “big church” was definitely special.
Maybe it’s because our simple little “chairs in the dirt” church didn’t have a lot of frills or special effects and so children waving palm branches really stood out as a highlight of worship.
Maybe it’s because, as Christians living under Sharia (Islamic) Law every day of the week, we rejoiced to gather with like-minded people to celebrate and worship our Lord. We were quite confined when we stepped back out on the street, but for those moments together, within the walls of the church compound, we were free.
Yes, that’s it!
The precious fellowship on Sundays: when we gathered in Jesus’ Name and let our Lord restore our souls.
Of course we have that, or should, every time we gather with believers anywhere. But I do believe that in those hard years or those hard places, the Lord gives His children unique times of fellowship and unexplainable strength so that our “soul survival” and our “sole survival” is in His Name alone.
Palm Sunday. We commemorate Jesus entering Jerusalem. People celebrated Jesus, but they did not understand what He had really come to do. The hard day and hard place was just a few days away for Jesus.
As we sang songs about the cross last Sunday, I prayed for believers in prison in Sudan for their faith. I prayed for believers in prison for their faith all across the world.
This week I listened to an interview with Petr Jasek, who was in prison in Sudan for over a year. If you don’t have time to listen to all three “episodes”, I hope you’ll consider at least listening to the last one. You will know better how to pray for our fellow-believers in prison. You can listen as a podcast or on this website.
As we look toward Easter, when most of us will enter church with no risk to our lives, let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in hard places to have soul-strength that comes solely from Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.