There’s enough strife and tension in our world today. My prayer is that I be a peacemaker. I don’t desire to be known for my political stand, but my identity as a follower of Jesus and my stand for His Kingdom! Keith Wheeler

On February 10, 2020 Keith Wheeler left Tulsa Oklahoma for Tuvalu, a nation of Pacific islands just south of the equator. Lying halfway between Hawaii and Australia it is one of the most remote and least visited places on earth. But that is exactly the kind of place Keith likes to visit.

Keith on the airport runway in Tuvalu

For 37 years he has walked more than 26,000 miles, visited every continent and over 200 countries for one reason- to love people and share God’s love, carrying a 90 pound cross over his shoulder. Keith uses the cross to get people’s attention and show how much God loves them.

But when Keith returned to the US in March 2020, the world had changed. On March 12, the director of the World Health Organization declared the new COVID-19 infection a pandemic, and President Trump declared a national emergency for theUnited States. Travel, especially international travel, was curtailed drastically.

Keith would not leave the country again for almost a year, but he did not waste the time resting. He just changed the way he reached people. He continued walking in Oklahoma and nearby states and shared videos on his social media, writing

“Maybe some of those stories and the perspective gained can be an encouragement. I love the fact that even in these times of isolation we can stay connected through all our technology.”

In three previous posts I told you about my interview with Keith December of 2021 and a sermon he preached in Tulsa in February 2022. In this post I’m drawing from Keith’s social media posts and an interview with BURN podcaster Reese Black.

(I have edited some of Keith’s statements for clarity and conciseness. I have added scripture references when he did not.)

Back home in Tulsa, on March 28, 2020 Keith wrote,

“In the midst of all the fear, disruption, uncertainty, and confusion that’s going on in our world, we can be sure that our Father goes before us and walks together with us into the unknown.

Easter Sunday, April 10, 2020 churches were closed due to COVID. Keith was on the street to carry the cross- in his own home city Tulsa Oklahoma.

Keith carries the cross on Lewis Avenue, walking by the Praying Hands statue at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Oklahoma
On that day he wrote on Facebook,

May the God of Hope deliver the gift of hope;

May the Prince of Peace guard hearts and minds with His perfect peace that passes all understanding;

May the Spirit of Comfort comfort & encourage hearts and

May the Savior of the World rescue and redeem lost and broken lives!

May 25, 2020

And then our country erupted into chaos, confusion, and confrontation.


Why we need Palm Sunday

The first Palm day was a prelude to unexpected pain and suffering. Most of us did not anticipate the pain and suffering this pandemic would bring. But the second Palm day was a celebration

Palm Sunday is one of several “holidays”, or more correctly holy days that Christians “celebrate”, or observe, in the weeks before Easter called Lent. Palm Sunday comes from an event recorded in the Bible books of Mark, Luke, and John.

The prophet Zechariah had said 

“Announce to the people
of Jerusalem:
‘Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
of a donkey.’ ”

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The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.

The next day a large crowd was in Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard that Jesus was coming for the festival,  they took palm branches and went out to greet him. They shouted,

Hooray for the Son of David!
God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
in heaven above!”

(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Lent starts with the well known Fat Tuesday-Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.

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Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, related in the story above. At my church on Palm Sunday, the preschool age children march into the auditorium waving palm branches and sing a song for us. The parents and grandparents sit up front, proudly taking pictures and video. It’s a day to celebrate before we observe the solemn sad days of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

two crossed palm branches

a second day to wave palm branches

It may not have been a Sunday, but I recently discovered another time when palm branches are used to honor Jesus. But unlike the first Palm Sunday, it celebrates a much happier occasion. It’s in the book of Revelation.

After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, as they shouted,

Our God, who sits

    upon the throne,

has the power

to save his people,

    and so does the Lamb.

Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom,

    thanks, honor, power,

and strength belong to our God

    forever and ever! Amen!”

Revelation 7:9-12, CEV

sharing faith, hope, and love

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

The first Palm day was a prelude to unexpected pain and suffering. Most of us did not anticipate the pain and suffering this pandemic would bring. But the second Palm day was a celebration because their pain and suffering was over. And I believe some day we will look back on these difficult days and celebrate health and wholeness again.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr Aletha

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