Entrances are important. This is why hotels, restaurants, businesses, houses of worship, and other public gathering places give special attention to creating entrances that are warm, comfortable, and inviting. We tend to do the same when it comes to our private living spaces as well. We know, intuitively, that an entrance often sets the tone for the rest of the visit. It will impact the entire experience that a person is going to have. Entrances really are that important.
This Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate and remember an importance entrance. Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ last entrance into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, surrounded by people waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna.” His entrance is remarkable for its humility. If a Roman official of equal notoriety at that time had been making an entrance into Jerusalem, that official would most likely have arrived in a chariot pulled by majestic stallions, surrounded by hundreds of armed guards marching in perfect formation. Jesus’ very different entrance set the tone for what was to follow. He came in humility, without arms or armor, open to facing the truth of what was happening with authenticity, and transparency.
You and I have the chance to practice our own entrances on a regular basis. The kind of entrances we make on a daily basis are seldom public or dramatic, but they are of great importance, none the less. How we enter or begin our conversations with our friends, spouses, children, other family members, and with our colleagues sets the tone for what will follow in those conversations. With the holidays of Passover and Easter coming, families will reconnect and reenter each others lives. How we enter into those gatherings will set the tone for all that follows there. How we choose to enter a new stage of life or any important transition in our life will also have a great effect on how we experience that change.
Another way in which we get to make choices around entrances, is when we have the chance to welcome people into our lives, either for the first time, or at a time of reconnecting. Either way we have the opportunity to make that new entrance, that new connection warm, comfortable, and inviting or not. Reaching out to welcome a person into the neighborhood, at work, or in a group that you are already a part of can make a powerful difference in that person’s life. Who among us doesn’t remember gratefully someone welcoming us into a new group when were still a stranger?
Making or providing a gracious entrance is, of course, most challenging if there has been past tension or conflict between ourselves and the person with whom we are reconnecting. If we are not being careful and mindful, our entrances at times like this can be guarded at best, and openly tense or critical at worst. We can learn from Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem though. He would have had every right to bring arms and armor, but chose not to. Like him, when we enter or reenter difficult relationships or situations, we can choose to do so with grace, authenticity, and transparency. How we choose to enter all relationships and conversations will make all the difference regarding what follows.