SHAMOKIN — Churches throughout the area observed Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding upon a lowly donkey while crowds of people waved palm fronds. Since that historic event over 2,000 years ago, the tradition of handing out palm branches at the conclusion of church services has become commonplace.

The natural beauty of the long, thin, bright-green branches makes them a favorite to display. Yet it’s the message behind Palm Sunday that truly makes it special for Christians everywhere.

At St. John’s United Church of Christ, Pastor Rose Shepley shared her thoughts on the significance of Palm Sunday.

“The hope and promise found in the waving and laying down of the palms is that God’s salvation is made available to all of us as believers in Jesus Christ. It allows us to become part of a heavenly community, which we weren’t born into but receive through faith in Christ,” she said.

Pastor Sam Derr, of the First Baptist Church, also addressed his congregation, sharing a Palm Sunday message.

“When it comes to Palm Sunday, it’s all about people praising God,” Derr said. “The Lord wants people to worship and praise him from their heart. When the religious leaders told Jesus to quiet his disciples down, he answered them by saying that if they (the disciples) would keep silent, the rocks would cry out in praise and worship.”

Derr went on to share what he called the four great qualities of the donkey that carried Christ on its back on the first Palm Sunday.

“It was resigned, reserved, resistless and resolved,” he said. “In God’s eyes, we must be resigned to the fact that we’re all sinners, in need of a Savior. As believers in, and followers of, Christ, we learn that we’re reserved for God’s purpose and plan for each one of our lives.

“We must not be stubborn but resistless, willing to follow after the Lord. Finally, we must be resolved to do whatever it is that God calls us to do, whenever he wants,” Derr added.

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