Building each other up for a better future
A reflection for Palm Sunday, Year B
by Caustan De Riggs
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. – Isaiah 50:4-7
Palm Sunday has always been a reflective time in my family. When I was a child, I remember folding palms leaves into crosses with my Grandmother while I listened to her stories. Those moments were always filled with laughter and encouragement. She also gave many lessons about developing a strong character. She was a master at planting seeds, and I’ve seen the same gift passed down to my aunts and uncles. All of them have faced challenging moments as they sought to build lives for their families when they came to Canada. We learned to live off each other’s strength, and this is part of what sustains us. I still have those folded palms decades later, and I think about those lessons every time I see them.
We have all had plenty of time to reflect over this past year, and we still have much to settle in today’s world. As we move forward to create all that will replace what was, we are also getting lost in the fatigue. We are living in a time when we need to borrow each other’s strength now more than ever. If not now then when? One of the most meaningful lessons I’ve experienced over this past year was to take the time to build up others, especially when I felt like I was at my own limits. Practicing gratitude and offering encouragement has helped keep me focused and given me perspective on what matters most. The hardest lesson I have learned over the last year is to focus these efforts in places where they are ready to be received. In other words, it is also okay to step away. We are in a rare moment where we are all dealing with the same global experience but are all intensely experiencing it from our own perspectives. When we are under this kind of pressure, we can miss moments for empathy, and our survival instincts can snap us into judgment instead of discernment. I believe this contributes to why we have divided reactions to the same events.
I also believe this is why we can’t turn away. As uncomfortable as it may feel to engage in dialogue in these moments of fatigue or frustration, I also think this is where God gives us wisdom. This is a necessary step if we really want to use this time to rebuild and to move forward in a better way. This opportunity is exciting and seems aligned with this particular Easter celebration. As I continue to reflect on the lessons my Grandmother shared with me, I’m also realizing that though these palms leaves were folded decades ago, they are still holding their shape today. I can’t help but think of this as a parallel to the decisions we make today and how we will reflect back on this time. Though, I am hopeful we will be sharing stories about how we chose to build each other up.
The readings for Palm Sunday, Year B, are
Mark 14:1 – 15:47
Caustan De Riggs is a business coach who believes in the value of partnerships. He participates in a network of talented leaders who won’t hesitate to help people who are using their gifts to create a positive impact.