Notes from Jan

Palm Offerings

March 28, 2021

Poco beamed as she presented her gift to me. Nothing wrapped, just something cushioned in my grand’s five year old hands. Slowly she opened them, revealing some coins in her palms. “Momo, this is for you. It’s everything I have. ” Everything totaled $1.02, a holy handful. Which is probably why the story came to mind during this sacred season.

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of what we now call Holy Week. Nothing feels all that holy, in me or out there, at the moment. Outside winds howl, shake limbs, loosen shingles, while rain pelts against the panes. The Atlantic churns, slamming against rocky outcroppings. It’s still March so it could’ve been snow or sleet in these parts. But still, it’s too stormy to relax.

Which may be a glimpse into Jesus as he clip clopped on a young donkey, journeying to Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. He knew too much to relax and enjoy the ride. Storms brewed and undercurrents rumbled like a pending earthquake. But still he rode on while hosannas pelted his ears, palms waved and cushioned the cobblestones for a young donkey. Jesus knew crowds are fickle.

Which is part of what I’ve been reminded of during this Lenten season. I mean well but don’t always do well. That fickle crowd is me. I’m Peter, too. No day ends that I’ve not needed forgiveness for something or love for someone.

So today, I find myself thinking of palms more than palm fronds. I see Christ’s hands, not waving like royalty to the throngs, but palms pounded in place by spikes to make sure he remains on that cross, as if anything could hold him but God’s redemptive plan. And also, I remember reading that God loves us so much “he has our names written on the palms of his hands.”(Isaiah 49:16, NIV)

Well, twice today I listened to When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. I heard,”Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.” Since I have no authority over nature, I found myself thinking of Poco’s gift. Maybe God’s reminding me as I journey on to daily open my palms and offer my $1.02.

“This is for you, Jesus. It’s everything I have.”

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  • Reply Wendy March 29, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Beautiful. I love the word picture of Poco giving you “everything she had“ with the perspective of me giving God “everything I have”. Because I know a grandmother‘s love, it reminded me that despite how little my offering is to God, he sees my heart and loves me more then can be put into words. Such good thoughts on His precious palms, and such a fabulous hymn. I am so thankful for the cross, and I am so thankful for the empty tomb!
    Have a wonderful and blessed Easter dear Jan. Love you!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 29, 2021 at 10:05 am

      Thank you, dear Wendy. Our all is so small yet heaven rejoices over us and our $1.02. You are right. It’s not about what’s in the hands as what’s in the heart. Easter JOY and HOPE to you, Steve and your family.

      • Reply Wendy March 29, 2021 at 11:08 am
  • Reply Valerie March 29, 2021 at 7:24 am

    This is one of your best, Jan! How often I think of my own hands and the ‘work’ they do…..good AND bad. And I also recall the chapel offering about ‘HANDS’ you shared with so many of us at Gordon College, many years ago. The message still rings true and I am grateful to be able to recollect its poignant reminder.
    Today I use my winter-worn hands to applaud your Easter offering, with much love.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 29, 2021 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, dear Valerie. I don’t recall the chapel message but am grateful you do. May God continue to do good work through your winter-worn hands and loving heart.

  • Reply Jeri March 30, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Beautiful, powerful images Jan. The empty hands of humanity, the full, giving, nail-torn hands of Christ. Of us letting go of the grasping, of Jesus laying His upon us in perfect love. Have a blessed Holy Week. Thank you for this reminder of perfect love.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 30, 2021 at 8:59 am

      Thank you, dear Jeri, for your words. We have much to learn from each other, often from the youngest among us. May you and Ron continue to use what’s in your hands for Jesus’s sake.

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