Palm/Passion Sunday can be jarring, jolting even as we move quickly from joining the crowds cheering Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to joining the crowds crying “crucify him, crucify him!”

Yet perhaps the rollercoaster of Palm/Passion Sunday reflects the sometimes roller coaster of our lives? From highs to lows, good times to bad, from having every hope to being discovered by the depths of suffering.

And perhaps the rollercoaster of Palm/Passion Sunday reflects the sometimes rollercoaster of faith as well; from the heights of believing in and feeling God’s presence to the depths of worrying about how absent God can feel from our lives and world.

It is amidst the rollercoaster of life and faith that we arrive at the cross.

Not a symbol of death, as some have seen it; No, we arrive to the cross and discover there our suffering Savior, who longs for the birth of new life, the Christ who gave himself to die on the cross to ensure that new life would be possible. We find this Savior who had:

Hoped with us
Longed with us
Rejoiced with us

And who sorrows with us. Yes, we find the cross. And Jesus is on it. And so are we.

We may not have noticed we climbed on to the cross. We may not understand why it had to be this way.

But to live, to really and fully live as a human being, is to become acquainted with suffering. And then, to be faithful, to be truly faithful, is to discover what, with God’s help in Christ, we will do with that suffering.

So it is that we journey into Holy Week and the opportunity to look the crosses and pain of our lives and this world full on, knowing that the Christ is right there struggling with us. Maybe especially when we do not feel the Savior’s presence, Christ is there on the cross, laboring for new life.