I've never won a race in my running life and I don't think I will ever win one. But I do know what it feels like to be triumphant. Every time I cross that finish line, I feel as victorious as the first place finisher. As I run to the finish line, the cheer starts to get louder and louder. People are pressing on the guard railings lining the finish chute. Cameras are flashing. I step on the mat and raise my hands acknowledging the cheers of the crowd.
Perhaps this is a similar atmosphere when Jesus entered Jerusalem on that day we now celebrate in the Christian world as Palm Sunday. A great crowd of His followers gathered and celebrated His return. Many people waved leafy branches and spread their cloaks on the road. They cried out, "Hosanna!" in praise of Jesus. It was a triumphant entry.
As triumphant as it was, it also sets the stage for His Passion. Today, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week where we remember Jesus' suffering and death on the cross. After living a successful public ministry and being hailed by the people, Jesus did not end His mission there. But instead, Jesus continued on to prepare Himself for His preordained suffering.
In my races, I may have crossed the finish line but I do not stop there. The lifelong runner in me reminds me that my last step on the finish is my first step to the next race.
Today I completed my 40th day of running, which I offered in prayer for cancer survivors Joyce S, Janet S, Annete M, Clessie, and Aunt Cely. For Ashley C, who is training for a Livestrong marathon but injured her ankle. For Michelle T., who is suffering from several ailments. And for the repose of the soul of William C., father of my co-worker.
I feel triumphant completing my 40-day commitment but I am not stopping just yet. Lent is not over for the Holy Week has just started. So I will keep running (straight for another 7 days until Easter) and make my praying even more fervent remembering how Jesus suffered and died to show God's great love for each of us.