This past Sunday I watched as children excitedly marched down the aisles of the church waving palm branches.
If somehow you had inadvertently forgotten it was Palm Sunday, you were quickly reminded by the eagerness in which these kids came forward waving, or – and in a few instances – hitting others with their palm branches!
There was no question: These kids were ready to march in the parade.
Over the years I’ve learned the value of intentionally slowing down to recall the significance of the activities of Jesus during this week we refer to as “Passion Week,” or “Holy Week.”
For me, I’m easily inclined to rush to the resurrection and miss the importance of Jesus’ sufferings. It’s easier (and more comfortable) for me to wave palm branches than to carry my cross. And, like many who chose to walk in the parade on Palm Sunday, few were found who were willing to march up Golgotha’s Hill. 
It’s easier to walk in a parade than a death march!
Before Jesus’ crucifixion, he gives an analogy of a kernel of wheat, reminding his followers that death is the way of life (John 12:24-26). To gain life, we must lose it. To serve Jesus, we must follow him; even in his sufferings. Without walking with Jesus in his sufferings, we will never fully appreciate the power of the resurrection.
There are many opportunities around us to walk with Jesus in his passion this week. Various churches will offer special services:
Maundy Thursday where we commemorate our Lord’s Last Supper with his disciples; Good Friday where we remember Christ’s crucifixion and death, and Holy Saturday, a day of somber reflection as we contemplate how dark our world and soul would be without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
Hopefully, you will join me in purposefully treasuring Jesus’ passion this week. And, with each step, may we experience the incredible love Jesus has for each of us: a love so intense he would not settle for a parade, but he willing chose a death march.
 Golgotha is the common name of the place where Jesus was crucified.